In retrospect, maybe Rocky didn’t “need” to return for the threequel involving Adonis Creed when the latter is dealing with a worthwhile opponent from the past childhood days. Michael B. Jordan stepped up to the plate in his directorial debut and mustered a striking tale continuing the legacy of Creed while supplementing Jonathan Majors with another commanding performance. Projections had this feature opening around $40 million; it easily outpaced them and its predecessors’ results in the opening weekend with $58.7 million. That’s the highest of the spinoff trilogy and Jordan’s career for a sports drama. It’s evocative of the best-case scenario for spin-off IPs as Deadpool, Venom, and Puss in Boots all became incredibly successful without relying on the franchise that spawned them.
Keanu Reeves will probably expect another grand opening once John Wick 4 drops. Solid reviews and fanbases in favor of these genres still mean you can roll around when The Matrix/Rocky dominated twenty-plus years ago. With a $100.5 million worldwide debut, people are sure as hell wanting more follow-ups with Michael B. Jordan and Co., whether Sylvester Stallone returns or not. If its legs resemble Creed 2, we could see a $130-140 million domestic earning and $250 million worldwide once the round ends—a heck of a win for Michael B. Jordan.
Unfortunately, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania has been tumbling abysmally for an MCU title. The threequel dropped 61% ($12.4 million) in its third weekend, for a domestic total of $186.8 million. Indeed, it will leg out much like its predecessors, but for a feature this grand, it’s not an enthralling start for Phase 5. Jonathan Majors is the saving grace of this, as he’s taking the lead in this and Creed 3 for the next few weekends; he’s firmly primed for more extraordinary things under the Hollywood banner down the line. With a total of $420 million worldwide, Ant-Man 3 will finish slightly under $500 million worldwide, inching out the best it can towards that benchmark. It’s a subtle reminder that Disney might need to reassess their direction leading up to the following slate of Avengers films because A) Marvel fatigue is starting to heighten and B) enlarging spectacle for a noticeable rise in MCU events diminishes rewatch factor when storytelling starts to sag. You can’t have it both ways, Marvel.
Cocaine Bear did drop a bit more than expected, although it does have fierce competition to handle while continuing Universal’s trend of brand-new formulas. With $11 million in its second weekend, the feature has earned $41 million domestically and $52 million worldwide. Elizabeth Banks still is intent on making a “Cocaine Shark” or whatever other animal audiences might find great pleasure in getting stoned. The announcement slate is on standby.
The most hindering result was the debut of Guy Ritchie’s Operation Fortune: Ruse De Guerre. Its $3.16 million debut is the worst wide opening for a Jason Statham-led feature (since 2008’s In the Name of King) and for the director that recently attained box office success with Wrath of Man, The Gentleman, and, obviously, the live-action remake of Aladdin. I’d be one to argue that its marketing was entirely restraining, especially paired alongside threequels that are stomping on high grounds. Statham will get some ground rebounded with Fast X, so not all is bad.
Avatar: The Way of Water dropped 26% in its twelfth weekend, bringing its domestic cume to $670.6 million domestically. Unfortunately, it will not have enough juice to top Top Gun: Maverick, and will be stretching to make it past $2.3 billion once it’s time to pull it out. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish has exceeded $450 million worldwide. And Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba-To the Swordsmith Village earned $10.1 million its opening weekend, a decent opening for an anime title.
Next weekend sees the release of Scream VI and 65.