‘Creed III’ punched above its weight at the domestic box office in its first weekend in theaters. The MGM release knocked “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” out of first place and exceeded both industry expectations and the opening weekend of the first two films in the franchise.
Playing at 4,007 venues in North America, “Creed III” earned an estimated $58 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates on Sunday. Over the weekend, analysts expected the film to open in the $30 million range. The first ‘Creed’ opened to $29 million in 2015 and ‘Creed II’ opened to $35 million in 2018.
Michael B. Jordan made his directorial debut with “Creed III”, which pits his character Adonis against Dem, a childhood friend played by Jonathan Majors. This is the first of the Rocky/Creed films not to feature Sylvester Stallone, who decided not to return due to creative differences.
The strong reviews helped “Creed III,” which currently holds an 87% on Rotten Tomatoes, while audiences gave it an A- Cinemascore. The audience was largely male (63%), diverse (36% black, 28% Latino, 23% white and 13% Asian/other) and young (55% between 18 and 34), according to exit polls.
With an estimated production budget of $75 million, it is also the most expensive “Creed” film, compared to other films that cost between $35 million and $50 million.
“Ant-Man 3” slipped to second place in its third weekend in theaters.
Third place went to Universal’s “Cocaine Bears,” which added $11 million in its second weekend in theaters to bring its domestic total to $41.3 million.
Crunchyroll’s “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – To the Swordsmith Village” ranked fourth with $10.1 million. The series is based on a manga by Koyoharu Gotoge about a boy seeking revenge for his family.
Lionsgate and Kingdom Story Company’s “Jesus Revolution” rounded out the top five with $8.7 million. The film, starring Kelsey Grammer as a 1970s pastor, earned $30.5 million over two weekends in theaters against a production budget of $15 million.
Follow AP Film Writer Lindsay Bahar on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr.
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