Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One” has launched impressively with a $12 million opening day, portending a four-day Easter weekend total of more than $50 million at 4,234 North American locations.

Friday’s estimate came in well above Warner Bros.’ tracking from a day earlier, which had been $45 million. The studio had already adjusted its projection upward from the $38 million to $42 million range earlier in the week.

The sci-fi spectacle earned an A- CinemaScore with an audience that was 59% male. The overall audience was 44% under 25, who gave it an A-, while those over 25 gave the film a B+.

The solid opening day performance validates the studio’s decision to move up the opening by a day to Thursday to take advantage of many moviegoers being on vacation during the period.

The movie is also debuting day and date internationally in 62 markets, with $3.2 million in foreign grosses since opening in Tuesday previews.

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, stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Lena Waithe, Ben Mendelsohn, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg, and Mark Rylance.

Reviews have been mostly positive for “Ready Player One” with a 78% “fresh” score on Rotten Tomatoes. ComScore/Screen Engin’s PostTrak survey showed that 50% of moviegoers rated the movie “excellent” with another 34% as “very good.”

Lionsgate’s thriller “Tyler Perry’s Acrimony” opened with $1 million at 1,700 locations on Thursday night. By way of comparison, Perry’s “Boo! A Madea Halloween” reeled in $855,000 from Thursday night previews and “Boo 2!” made around $760,000.

“Acrimony,” starring Taraji P. Henson as a vengeance-seeking wife, is expanding to 2,006 venues on Friday with forecasts in the $7 million to $11 million range.

“Acrimony” will be battling the second weekend of Universal-Legendary’s “Pacific Rim Uprising,” the seventh frame of “Black Panther,” and Lionsgate-Roadside’s third weekend of “I Can Only Imagine” for second place during the holiday. “Black Panther” has passed the $637 million mark in 41 days, making it the fifth highest-grossing movie ever on the domestic list.

March is trailing the same month a year ago by 30%, with year-to-date earnings off 4.3% to $2.73 billion, according to comScore. “The industry has yet to capitalize on the momentum created by ‘Black Panther,'” noted Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with the tracking service.

“Unfortunately, with the year ago $50.2 million debut of ‘The Boss Baby’ making for rough year over year comparisons, this will likely be another ‘down’ weekend for the industry pushing the year-to-date deficit even higher,” he added. “The good news is that this downtrending box office will turnaround in a massive way once ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ opens on April 27.”

 

 

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