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‘Ready Player One’ to Storm Domestic Box Office With $53 Million

Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One” will take over the domestic box office during Easter weekend with $53 million from 4,234 locations.

The VR-fantasy film starring Tye Sheridan launched a day early on Thursday after Warner Bros. decided to move up the release to take advantage of the vacation-friendly Easter holiday. With the added day, “Ready Player One” will come out more than $30 million ahead of the No. 2 film, “Tyler Perry’s Acrimony,” which is set to reel in roughly $16 million from 2,006 sites.

“Ready Player One” grossed $17 million on Friday, ahead of early forecasts, which had pegged the pic at around $38 million to $42 million for the Thursday through Sunday period. The film also opened day and date in 62 international markets, and earned roughly $28 million Friday for a foreign total of $42 million. In China, “Ready Player One” debuted at No. 1 with $14 million on Friday for a 60% box office share, marking the third-highest Chinese debut for a Warner Bros. film. Estimates for Saturday place the film’s take from China alone at $25.2 million.

Based on Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel, “Ready Player One” is set both in a dystopian version of Columbus, Ohio in 2045 and in an elaborate virtual reality world called Oasis, popular because it enables residents to escape the grim reality of their actual world. The film, written by Cline and Zak Penn, also stars Olivia Cooke, Lena Waithe, Ben Mendelsohn, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg, and Mark Rylance. The sci-fi movie is sitting at a 76% certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has received a A- CinemaScore.

Lionsgate’s “Acrimony” ended Friday with $7.26 million, with $1 million from Thursday previews, and has received an A- CinemaScore. The thriller stars Taraji P. Henson as a woman scorned and out for vengeance. Perry’s last film, “Boo 2!” made $7.4 million between Thursday previews and its opening day.

In third at the box office is Disney-Marvel’s record-breaking “Black Panther”  in its seventh weekend with $11 million. The film has amassed over $1.2 billion worldwide and is the fifth-highest domestic grosser of all time, roughly $13 million behind 2015’s “Jurassic World.” This weekend’s take will narrow that gap, and the film will likely become the fourth-highest-grossing domestic film of all time in the coming weeks.

Roadside Attractions’ “I Can Only Imagine” slipped one spot from last weekend to land in No. 4 with a still solid $10 million. With the addition of this weekend’s total, the film will have earned over $50 million in North America. Starring J. Michael Finlay and Dennis Quaid, the film tells the story behind the best-selling Christian single of all time, MercyMe’s “I Can Only Imagine.” The surprise box office hit added another 395 theaters to its range to take advantage of Easter weekend.

Sliding from its No. 1 opening weekend is Universal’s “Pacific Rim Uprising” in the fifth place spot with around $9 million from 3,708 sites. The number marks a 67% decline from the film’s premiere weekend — 2013’s “Pacific Rim” dropped by 57% between its first two weekends. Starring John Boyega, “Uprising” sees a new generation of fighters facing the supernatural Kaiju monsters. The film is at a 45% on Rotten Tomatoes with a 53% Audience Score and B CinemaScore. Following the model set by its predecessor, “Uprising” has seen stronger numbers internationally, where it has earned over $120 million for a global tally of more than $160 million.

Other Easter-timed films include Sony-Affirm’s “Paul, Apostle of Christ,” which opened last weekend at 1,473 sites and should bring in $3.5 million through Sunday for a total of $11.6 million. Pureflix’s “God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness” will open to just over $3 million at 1,693 theaters.

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