LOS ANGELES (AFP): MGM’s boxing drama “Creed III” scored an opening-round knockout this weekend, taking in an estimated $58.7 million to top North America’s box office in one of the biggest debuts ever for a sports film.
That made first-time director Michael B. Jordan — who again plays rock-hard boxer Apollo Creed — the “undefeated box office champion,” said industry analyst Exhibitor Relations.
“This opening is sensational,” said analyst David A. Gross of Franchise Entertainment Research. “Weekends like this are good news for the industry.”
In this ninth film in the “Rocky” franchise — the first without Sylvester Stallone in the Rocky Balboa role he created — Creed comes out of retirement for a dramatic showdown against an old friend played by Jonathan Majors.
That makes this a pretty good weekend for Majors, the villain in Marvel and Disney’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” which placed second for the Friday-through-Sunday period at $12.5 million. Paul Rudd stars as the title ant; Evangeline Lilly is the Wasp.
In third place was Universal’s “Cocaine Bear” at $11 million. The horror comedy is based loosely on the true story of a black bear that wreaks havoc in the Tennessee woods after consuming a cache of lost cocaine. Keri Russell plays one of the locals caught up in the crazy.
“Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba — To the Swordsmith Village,” an anime sequel from Crunchyroll, placed fourth at $10.1 million. The previous “Demon Slayer” film in 2021 had a record debut for a non-English language feature, taking in $19.5 million, Variety reported.
And in fifth was Lionsgate’s Christian drama “Jesus Revolution,” a story of a 1960s religious movement in California. It took in $8.7 million.
Rounding out the top 10 were:
“Avatar: The Way of Water” ($3.6 million)
“Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre” ($3.2 million)
“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” ($2.7 million)
“Magic Mike’s Last Dance” ($1.2 million)
“80 for Brady” ($845,000)