Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time was unable to defeat Black Panther after opening to a muted $33.3 million from 3,980 theaters in North America.
Both Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time — the latter based on Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved book and targeting young girls — have been heralded for their diversity, both in front of and behind the camera.
For Disney, the weekend was a double-edged sword, since it’s home to both films. Wrinkle in Time, costing $103 million to make before marketing, is the first major miss domestically for the studio since The BFG and Alice Through the Looking Glass in 2016. Wrinkle in Time, targeting young girls, was hampered by poor word of mouth following generally bad reviews and a B CinemaScore.
Conversely, Black Panther continued to dazzle, earning $41.1 million from 3,942 locations to score one of the best fourth weekends of all time. The movie, upping its domestic total to $562 million, is now the No. 2 superhero pic of all time behind Marvel’s The Avengers. Also over the weekend, Ryan Coogler’s superhero film bounded past the $1 billion mark at the global box office after landing in its final foreign market, China, where it debuted to a stellar $66.5 million, among the top five launches ever for a superhero pic.
Disney’s Dave Hollis downplayed the suggestion that Wrinkle in Time underperformed. “With both films, you can see that diverse voices matter and that empowered women matter,” he says. “In the case of Wrinkle in Time, people want stories about optimism and hope.
DuVernay is the first black woman to helm a $100 million movie, while Storm Reid plays the heroine at the heart Wrinkle in Time, 13-year-old Meg Murry, who must find her father and save the universe along the way.
The movie’s star-studded cast also includes Oprah Winfrey, Levi Miller, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Chris Pine
According to comScore/Screen Engine, Wrinkle in Time‘s audience was 17 percent African-American, compared to 37 percent for Black Panther on opening weekend. Caucasians made up the largest share of Wrinkle‘s audience (56 percent), followed by Hispanics (20 percent). Asians made up 5 percent and Native American/other, 3 percent.
Nearly 60 percent of ticket buyers were female, while a hefty 57 percent were under the age of 25.
Overseas, Wrinkle in Time rolled out in six major markets, grossing $6.3 million for a global bow of $39.6 million.
Another female-led event film also tested the waters overseas — Warner Bros. and MGM’s Tomb Raider reboot, starring Alicia Vikander. The movie opened across Asia — save for China and Vietnam — a week ahead of its domestic debut, earning $14.1 million, including $2.9 million in South Korea.
In North America, three additional movies opened opposite A Wrinkle in Time.
Aviron’s The Strangers: Prey at Night, a sequel of sorts to The Strangers (2008), fared the best, placing No. 3 with $10.5 million from 2,464 theaters.
The Hurricane Heist, directed by Rob Cohen, placed No. 9 with an estimated $3.2 million from 2,402 locations. Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios is handling the movie.
Amazon Studios and STXfilms’ Gringo, a dark comedy starring David Oyelowo, Charlize Theron and Joel Edgerton, opened outside the top 10 with $2.6 million. Amazon fully financed the film and paid for marketing.
In other action, Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water enjoyed a huge bump following its Academy Award wins last weekend, including for best picture and director. The movie grossed $2.4 million from 1,552 theaters — a 63 percent jump — for a domestic total of $61 million and $148 million globally.
At the specialty box office, Focus Features debuted Thoroughbreds in 549 theaters. The drama, marking the final performance of the late Anton Yelchin, took in $1.2 million. Olivia Cooke and Anya Taylor-Joy also star.
IFC opened The Death of Stalin in four theaters. The comedy, which has been banned in Russia, posted a strong theater average of $45,327, the best of the year so far behind Black Panther.