They say that the month of March either goes in like a lion and out like a lamb, or vice versa, and, at least from a box office standpoint, the month will seemingly go in like a lion and out like a lion too. The month kicked off with Marvel's Black Panther continuing its epic winning streak with an impressive $66.3 million in its third weekend, with the final weekend of March looking to be easily conquered by newcomer Ready Player One, directed by Steven Spielberg. Armed with strong reviews and positive word of mouth, we're predicting a $43.6 million debut for Ready Player One, which will easily be enough to take the top spot from last weekend's holdovers and two newcomers as well, Lionsgate's Tyler Perry's Acrimony and PureFlix's God's Not Dead: A Light in the Darkness.
For one, Ready Player One is shaping up to debut with the highest theater count of the year, with an estimated 4,100 theater rollout. This will come in just higher than Black Panther, which debuted in 4,020 theaters in mid-February. Still, while the 4,100-theater rollout is quite huge, it comes nowhere close to the all-time record of last year's Despicable Me 3, which broke the seven-year record of 4,468 theaters set by The Twilight Saga: Eclipse in 2010. Paired with this large rollout is strong word-of-mouth from its SXSW premiere and reviews, with the movie currently scoring an 82% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, while there are not enough reviews in for Tyler Perry's Acrimony and God's Not Dead: A Light In the Darkness quite yet.
We're predicting the top 5 will be rounded out by newcomer Tyler Perry's Acrimony in second place with $16.2 million, debuting in roughly 2,000 theaters, followed by Pacific Rim Uprising in third with $13.6 million, Black Panther in fourth with $10.2 million and I Can Only Imagine in fifth with $8.6 million. This is Tyler Perry's first directorial effort that isn't a Madea movie since 2014's The Single Mom's Club, with the director reuniting with star Taraji P. Henson after they worked together on 2008's The Family That Preys and 2009's I Can Do Bad All By Myself.
We're predicting the top 10 will be rounded out by Sherlock Gnomes ($6.3 million), God's Not Dead: A Light in the Darkness ($5.8 million), Tomb Raider ($5.2 million), A Wrinkle in Time ($4.5 million) and Love, Simon ($4.2 million). Also debuting in limited release this weekend is Neon's Gemini, Vertical Entertainment's Birthmarked, Cinedigm's Caught, Magnolia's The China Hustle, Roadside Attractions' Finding Your Feet, Parade Deck Films' FourPlay, IFC's Love After Love, The Orchard's Outside In and Vertical Entertainment's Status Update. There is no indication yet if any of these films will expand into a nationwide release.
Looking ahead to next weekend, the first frame of April brings four new releases, with Universal's R-rated comedy Blockers, Paramount's thriller A Quiet Place, Entertainment Studios' thriller Chappaquiddick and Mirror/LD's The Miracle Season. Take a look at our top 10 projections below, and check back for the top 10 estimates on Sunday, courtesy of Box Office Mojo.
|1||Ready Player One|
|3||Pacific Rim Uprising|
|5||I Can Only Imagine|
|6||Gnomeo & Juliet: Sherlock Gnomes|
|7||God's Not Dead 2|
|9||A Wrinkle in Time|