In a surprise upset, the faith-based ‘I Can Only Imagine’ — about the most popular Christian song in history — beats ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ and ‘Love, Simon.’
Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther continued to make history in its fifth weekend with a domestic box-office haul of $27 million, burying Tomb Raider and becoming only the seventh film ever to cross the $600 million mark in North America.
The other big headline of the weekend was Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate’s faith-based film I Can Only Imagine, which vastly overperformed. The movie debuted to $17.1 million from 1,628 cinemas to defeat A Wrinkle of Time and Love, Simon — the first film from a major Hollywood studio featuring a gay teen protagonist — in a surprise upset.
Black Panther is the first film since Avatar eight years ago to top the chart for five consecutive weekends, and only the third film to do so in 19 years after Avatar and The Sixth Sense. The Disney and Marvel superhero pic finished Sunday with a domestic total of $605.4 million and $1.182 billion globally. In the U.S., it is only days away from overtaking fellow Marvel film The Avengers ($623 million) to become the top-grossing superhero film of all time in North America, unadjusted for inflation.
Tomb Raider‘s muted domestic bow of $23.5 million from 3,854 theaters is a disappointment for Warner Bros. and MGM, which partnered in rebooting the female-led franchise that’s based on the videogame. In the early 2000s, the Tomb Raider film series — starring Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft — beat the curse that continues to haunt videogame adaptations.
Norwegian filmmaker Roar Uthaug (The Wave) directed the new Tomb Raider, which stars Alicia Vikander opposite Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu and Kristin Scott Thomas. The $90 million film earned a mediocre B CinemaScore, potentially hurting word of mouth.
The movie did make up ground overseas, topping the foreign weekend chart with $84.5 million from 65 markets for a foreign tally of $102.5 million and $126 million globally. That includes a first-place finish in China with $41.1 million.
“I really hoped we would do more than $25 million domestically, but the fact that we were No. 1 globally is terrific news,” says Warners domestic distribution chief Jeff Goldstein. “We always viewed this as an international play.”
Tomb Raider placed No. 2 in North America, followed by I Can Only Imagine, which marks the biggest opening in Roadside’s history.
The film stars J. Michael Finley as Bart Millard, the lead singer of the Christian band MercyMe, who wrote “I Can Only Imagine,” considered to be the most popular song in Christian music history. Dennis Quaid and Cloris Leachman also star in the drama, which cost a modest $7 million to make.
“It definitely shows that if you build a good movie, this audience will come out,” says Roadside co-president Howard Cohen. “This is a branded property, and Dennis Quaid did a ton of publicity.”
Coming in at No. 4, Ava DuVernay’s Wrinkle in Time grossed $16.6 million in its second weekend domestically, falling 50 percent, despite being a family film. The fantasy-adventure, from Disney, has earned $61.1 million in North America and $71.7 million globally.
Like Tomb Raider, Fox’s YA adaptation Love, Simon disappointed in its opening. The film took fifth place with $11.5 million from 2,402 theaters.
Greg Berlanti directed the Fox 2000 dramedy, which stars Nick Robinson as Simon Spier, a closeted high schooler who tries to find out the identity of an anonymous classmate he’s fallen in love with online. Love, Simon cost $17 million to produce, and over-indexed on both coasts and in the Midwest, while under-indexing in the Rocky Mountain states, the South and the Southeast.
Both Love, Simon and I Can Only Imagine nabbed coveted A+ CinemaScores, while Tomb Raider earned a mediocre B.
“Love is patient, love is kind, love is Simon,” says Fox domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson, noting that the A+ CinemaScore should boost Love, Simon in the weeks to come.
Elsewhere, New Line’s Game Night placed No. 6 in its fourth weekend with $11.5 million for a domestic tally of $54 million, one of the best showings in recent times for an R-rated comedy.
On the global stage, Guillermo del Toro’s Oscar-winning The Shape of Water upped its worldwide total to $173.5 million after debuting in China to a stellar $10.3 million and jumping the $100 million mark internationally. The adult fairy tale has grossed $62.7 million domestically and $110.8 million overseas.