Easter Box Office: “Ready Player One” opens big, Tyler Perry scores, “God’s Not Dead” dies

READY PLAYER ONEProjections for how big “Ready Player One” were a bit fuzzy, with it having a Wed. night opening and then an entire Easter Weekend to make some coin.

The $40 million or so 3/day always seemed low, and a big Wed., very big Thursday and $15 million Friday seem to point toward something closer to $50 million than $40 million.

But Saturday will be telling. Deadline.come is still it’ll have over $40 over the weekend (excluding Monday), $53-55 since Wed by midnight Sunday.

They’ve been inching their predictions upward, but I still say they’re underestimating it. When I saw it with a mostly-college crowd pre-opening, about a third seemed REALLY into it (gamers, pop culture sponges of the “Family Guy” fanbase variety). It panders to that crowd for two hours and 20 minutes — endless inside jokes, pop culture references, game tricks, etc. Their talking it up will only carry so much water, but again, a Sat. as big or bigger than Friday will be the tell.

Tyler Perry’s days of opening Madea movies into the $25 million range may be over, but he’s still got enough of a brand to pull in $16 million for one of his tortured relationships in the African American community melodramas. “Acrimony” is managing that.

“Pacific Rim: Uprising” fell off a cliff, “A Wrinkle in Time” and “Tomb Raider” are both on track to fall well short of $100 million before they disappear from screens.

“Black Panther” is still pulling them in, #3 at the box office this weekend, but finally fading. It will have cleared $650 million in the U.S. by Sunday night. Stunning.

The best thing about the blase but soft-selling faith-based drama “I Can Only Imagine” and the weak-lead Biblical period piece “Paul, the Apostle,” is that they’ve killed off the angry, defiantly superstitious “God’s Not Dead” movies. That’s a proven brand, making money off Christian victimization in an increasingly secular (and educated) America.

And the third film in the franchise is on nearly 2,000 screens and can’t even crack the top ten. Deadline.com is notorious for under-estimating Sat and Sunday takes on most films, kiddie fare and faith-based movies especially. But right now this one is not set to clear $3 million. That could change, but in any event, the other two Easter movies in the genre have sucked all the air out of that house fire.

dogs2Wes Anderson’s charming, touching animated “Isle of Dogs” is only on 165 screens, and it may hit $3 million. Not in the top ten, but better “Dogs” than “Dead.”


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