Box Office: “Pacific Rim” tames the “Panther,” “I Can Only Imagine” hangs in, “Unsane” can’t crack top ten

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Yes, there’s another “Black Panther” box office record, the one for highest domestic gross ever for a Marvel movie. It will have earned over $630 million by the time the totals are tallied Sunday night.

But “Pacific Rim: Uprising,” even though it’s a sequel nobody save for Universal asked for, pushed the Panther out of the way with a less than dazzling $26 million opening.

For a $150 million movie, that’s bad news. But remember, it wasn’t made for the U.S. market. It’s an international picture with a lot of China fluffing in it.

“Sherlock Gnomes,” not previewed for critics and a sequel to “Gnomeo & Juliet,” won’t bring Johnny Depp back into box office glory. A middling $9 million opening?

sun2Likewise “Midnight Sun” isn’t going to ensure Bella Thorne of a future in the movies. That one, not terrible I thought, barely cracked the top ten with a $4 million weekend.

“Paul, Apostle of Christ” is an intimate Biblical epic launched right before Easter, but poor reviews aren’t helping it put a dent in that faith audience.

Because they’re still going to “I Can Only Imagine,” a lightweight bio-pic/drama that is managing 75% of its already-strong opening weekend audience. Not a great picture, but its giving its audience what they want and churches have been bulk-buying showings of it. A great Easter Weekend and it could hit $70 million by the time it’s chased off screens.

Steve Soderbergh’s quixotic journey from big box office director to explorer of the cinema’s fringe financing schemes (“Logan Lucky”) and smaller outfits that can’t market a movie to save their lives (“Unsane”) continues. Bleecker Street put his non-supernatural horror picture shot on an iPhone on 2000 screens, and created zero buzz for it. Little advance word that it was coming, almost no awareness in the general culture. Where did they advertise it? Why bother releasing them theatrically at all?

When the movie’s a picture from a popular genre, and gets good notices and nobody goes to see it, that’s incompetent marketing.

“A Wrinkle in Time” is creeping up over $70 million but will fall well below $100 by the time it loses screens.

“Ready Player One” figures to eat the box office for lunch Easter Weekend, but there’s not much buzz for that one, despite heavy advertising.

 

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