Box Office: ‘Black Panther’ to Keep Top Spot in Third Weekend, ‘Red Sparrow’ Flying to Second

Black Panther

Black Panther” remains on fire as Disney-Marvel’s third frame of the superhero tentpole is projected to dominate moviegoing with at least $60 million at 4,020 North American locations.

Fox’s opening of Jennifer Lawrence’s spy thriller “Red Sparrow” is heading for a respectable second-place finish of about $20 million at 3,056 sites, while MGM’s launch of Bruce Willis’ “Death Wish” should wind up with about $12 million at 2,847 venues.

“Black Panther,” starring Chadwick Boseman, is heading for the third-highest third weekend of all time, trailing only “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at $90 million and “Avatar” at $68 million.

The superhero tentpole took in $6.6 million at 4,020 North American sites on Thursday to lift its domestic total to $435.4 million, surpassing “E.T. — The Extraterrestrial” for the 16th spot. “Black Panther” is $6 million behind “Shrek 2” for the 15th spot and should be near the $500 million domestic mark by the end of this weekend. Only nine films have crossed that milestone, most recently “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”

“Red Sparrow” took in $1.2 million in Thursday night previews — the same preview gross as Universal’s thriller “The Girl on the Train,” which opened with a $24.5 million weekend in 2016.

Lawrence is returning to collaborate with Francis Lawrence, who directed the final three “Hunger Games” movies. “Red Sparrow,” written by Justin Haythe and based on a novel by Jason Matthews, centers on a Russian ballerina who’s recruited into a spy agency after suffering a career-ending injury, and facing a bleak and uncertain future.

The producers are Peter Chernin, Steve Zaillian, Jenno Topping, and David Ready. The cast also includes Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Jeremy Irons, Mary-Louise Parker, and Charlotte Rampling. Reviews have been mixed for “Red Sparrow,” which currently holds a 52% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The thriller, which had been originally set for an October release, carries a $69 million budget.

MGM’s re-imagined “Death Wish,” starring Willis as a surgeon turned vigilante, is expected to make about $12 million, slightly below forecasts in the $14 million to $16 million range. The action-thriller took in $650,000 on Thursday night.

“Death Wish” had been scheduled to open last fall, but MGM decided to push it back from Nov. 22 to March 2. “Hostel” director Eli Roth helmed the new “Death Wish” and former MGM co-chairman Roger Birnbaum produced. The $30 million pic also stars Vincent D’Onofrio, Kimberly Elise, Mike Epps, and Elisabeth Shue. Initial reviews have been harsh, with a 14% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Warner Bros.’ second weekend of R-rated comedy “Game Night” could top “Death wish” with about $12 million.