March 20, 2023


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Box office: ‘Cocaine Bear’ draws solid opening, ‘Ant-Man 3’ falls

3 min read

Box office can be an institution of simple pleasure. Hollywood unleashes the story of a rampaging bear drugged out of his mind and — you know what? – People roll out.

“Cocaine Bear” grossed $8.6 million in its opening day from 3,534 theaters, including $2 million in Thursday previews. That puts the Universal release ahead of the project to headline the weekend, where the raunchy comedy debuted between $15 million and $17 million. A fun marketing campaign and a murderous premise have given the film a strong footing, with a debut north of $21 million now on the cards.

It will mark an auspicious kick-off for “Cocaine Bear,” which has a production budget of $35 million. Reviews have been all over the place; The film carries a 51% approval rating from top critics on review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences are also somewhat lukewarm, as the film received a “B-” grade by research firm CinemaScore, though a middling grade is fairly standard for a genre release with a horror slant. But, at the end of the day, “cocaine beer” is titled “cocaine beer”; The straightforward premise proves to be a winner and audiences have to see the film to believe it.

Along with a CGI bear (no real bear did cocaine during production), “Cocaine Bear” stars Keri Russell, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Alden Ehrenreich, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ray Liotta and Brooklynn Prince. Inspired by a true story, the film follows the residents of a small town in Georgia who must survive after a killer bear eats a duffel bag full of cocaine. The film is (very loosely) based on a true story.

Although “Cocaine Bear” was the top grosser on Friday, it will likely finish second on the final weekend chart, behind the sophomore outing of “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantummania.” But even if the superhero entry is a step ahead of the competition, Marvel has definitely seen better box office days.

The bottom drop from the Disney release was its second Friday, with an $8.3 million gross, down 82% from its opening day last week. Industry estimates are predicting around $30 million for the “Ant-Man” entry, which would mark a 72% week-over-week drop. That would be a record for a Marvel Cinematic Universe film, none of which has dropped more than 70% in its second weekend. In fact, the only film to open above $100 million domestically before falling more than 70% was the final “Harry Potter” entry, 2011’s “The Deathly Hallows — Part 2.”

With the domestic gross now standing at $143 million, “Quantumania” remains far and away the biggest release of 2023 so far. But the massive drop demonstrates how bad wording can affect the film, which has garnered more negative reviews than the average Marvel release.

“Quantumania” landed an “Ant-Man” series-high opening of $105.5 million last week, surpassing the debut of its predecessor “Ant-Man and the Wasp” ($75 million). Even with that head start, second weekend estimates for “Quantumania” are landing eerily close to the 2018 entry’s second weekend ($29 million).

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” finished its 2018 run with $216 million US and $622 million worldwide. While those numbers aren’t small potatoes, a finish around that for “Quantumania” would likely be seen as a disappointment for Marvel. The film carried a $200 million production budget (larger than previous “Ant-Man” entries) and Jonathan Majors teased Kang, a villain who would play a major role in future Marvel Cinematic Universe entries.

In third place on the domestic chart, “Jesus Revolution” made an impressive debut after earning $6.95 million on Friday, which includes a $3.3 million gross from First Access screenings earlier in the week. Playing in 2,475 theaters, the film is projecting a low eight-figure opening. Kingdom Story continues to exceed the company’s Lionsgate release estimates, boosted by enthusiastic audience response (the film was graded “A+” by CinemaScore).

“Jesus Revolution” follows a young couple who help revive a pastor’s dormant church. The film stars Jonathan Rumi, Joel Courtney, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Kelsey Grammer, Anna Grace Barlow and Devon Franklin, co-directed by John Erwin and Brent McCorkle.

“Avatar: The Way of Water” went on to take fourth place with $1.1 million on Friday Still hanging on in its 11th weekend of release, James Cameron’s sci-fi sequel has earned a whopping $661 million at the domestic box office so far.

Fifth place in Universal’s “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” should go on holdover for another holiday season. The DreamWorks spinoff looks to add an additional $4 million in its 10th weekend of release, raising its domestic gross to an impressive $173 million.

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