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Rare box office wins for Jonathan Majors’ Creed III and Ant-Man

When “Creed III” made its way to the top of the box office over the weekend with a whopping $58.7 million domestically, it broke a bunch of records.

Directed, produced, and starring Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed, the MGM film had the franchise’s best opening and the biggest domestic opening for a sports movie. With an additional $41.1 million internationally, the film has already grossed over $100 million worldwide. “Creed III” is also expected to become MGM’s first non-“Bond” movie to gross $100 million domestically since 2019’s hit animated movie “The Addams Family.”

There were other impressive stats, including the movie’s “A-” CinemaScore and ticket buyers reporting that 63% were male, and 55% were between the ages of 18 and 34. The stats also indicated a racially diverse audience as 36 percent were black, 28 percent were Latino, 23 percent were white, and 13 percent were Asian, according to PostTrak data. The film, which Jordan shot with Imax cameras, was also a hit on premium large-format screens, with 38% of its box office taking coming from those ticket sales.

But perhaps most notably, “Creed III” knocked “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” off the top spot in its third week of release. (Despite a sharp dip between the first two weeks, the Marvel movie still leads “Cocaine Bear.”) With Majors starring in both movies – Damian “Dame” Anderson played Creed’s friend-turned-antagonist in the boxing movie and the new big MCU movie Kang The Bad – This feat is more than impressive, it’s just extraordinary.

While the movie hit ticket sales, Majors was booming around the country. On Friday, the actor was honored by the Austin Film Festival at the Texas Film Awards in his home state of Texas. Then, on Sunday night, at the ABFF Honors Gala in Los Angeles, Majors surprised his Lovecraft Country co-star — and acting champion — Courtney B. Vance, by awarding him the Excellence in the Arts award.

“He did it. He’s gone,” said Vance. diverse On the red carpet, he jokes about Majors’ rapidly rising star before thinking more seriously about what it all means. “He’s trying to leave that door open, to bring people with him, and to become the powerhouse that Michael B [Jordan] He is. So the two are the future of black Hollywood and Hollywood.”

Courtney B. Vance and Jonathan Majors on stage at the ABFF Honors
Kelvin Pollock

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, agrees that the moment marks a major shift in momentum for the actor, who broke out with his debut with the 2019 independent film “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” followed by “The Harder They Fall.” , and “Da 5 Blood” and “Worship”.

“As rare as a unicorn sighting is, having gold and silver at the box office in the same weekend puts any actor in a very exclusive club, because it’s unusual for the cinematic planets to align in this way,” says Dergarabedian. diverse about achievement. “Jonathan Majors now joins this rare group with this amazing box office punch.”

In trying to calculate how rare this happens, Dergarabedian notes that it takes a lot more than a quick Google search.

“This is box office archeology,” he explains. “It’s not like you’re just typing in the ‘movies from the same star, in two best, three weeks apart’ system, and it just pops up. It takes a much deeper dive.”

The kind of success Majors would see would have been more frequent during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s due to the installation of the Hollywood studio system and contracts that required actors to direct a certain number of films per year.

“You can really get weed [researching that time],” he adds. “But in modern times, it’s extremely rare.”

Here are some examples:

In January 2013, Jessica Chastain had a No. 1 and No. 2 debut with the horror film “Mama” and headlined “Zero Dark Thirty,” which got a massive boost at the box office after expanding nationwide after receiving five Academy Award nominations. (Chastain was nominated for Best Actress.)

In March 1998, Leonardo DiCaprio took the top two spots with “The Man in the Iron Mask,” which opened at $300,000 only behind Titanic, which opened in December 1997 and was just beginning its unprecedented run to a record $1.8 billion. . (With subsequent re-releases, including its 25th anniversary screenings last year, the film has grossed more than $2.2 billion worldwide.)

Recently, Tom Holland got close. “Uncharted” opened at No. 1 in February 2022, after dethroning “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which held No. 1 for most of December and January. Thanks to Channing Tatum’s “Dog” who took second place.

Of course, there could certainly be cases where a supporting actor could appear in a smaller role in two blockbuster films, but Majors is a co-star in both “Creed” and “Quantumania.” In general, even the busiest of actors appear in no more than two movies a year, with months between release dates. (Samuel L. Jackson, whose more than 150 films have grossed over $27 billion at the box office, would be an exception. His annual average is often much higher, especially considering his Nick Fury movie appears throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as all Other high-profile franchises in which he stars.)

“It’s about quality, not quantity,” says Dergarabedian. “It’s more about getting the right runway to serve the marketing and getting the release date in the minds of moviegoers and all that good stuff. Having too many movies with the same actor can be annoying.”

Paul Rudd as Scott Lang / Ant-Man and Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror in “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania”
© The Walt Disney Company/Courtesy Everett Collection

For example, when Will Smith began his theatrical career as “The King of the Fourth of July” — with “Independence Day,” the “Men in Black” trilogy, “Wild Wild West,” “I, Robot” and “Hancock” — he tended to fire One movie a year or maybe two. In fact, one of the earliest shifts in the actor’s filmography came in 2004, when Smith starred in the movie “I, Robot” in July, while the animated movie “Shark Tale” was released in October.

But with “Creed III” shifting from November 23, 2022 — where it would have coincided with the release of Sony’s “Devotion,” after that movie moved to Thanksgiving weekend — to March 3, as well as the flip of “Quantumania” — the dates have flipped. The Marvels has been released multiple times, and Majors has starred in three movies over the past four months and two in the space of three weeks.

“It’s the gods in the release calendar that sort of determine the fate of all these movies,” says Dergarabedian. “The chess game of moving release dates has been made confusing by the pandemic and production schedules, affecting the ability to release films when they were originally scheduled.”

On this topic of scheduling, for comparison, Denzel Washington had the No. 1 film in the country with “The Pelican Brief” in December 1993. In the film’s second week of release—and while it was still topping the charts—”Philadelphia” shot to four screens, landing in No. 20. By Martin Luther King – A weekend in 1994, “Philadelphia” jumped to No. 1, with “Pelican Brief” at No. 5.

DiCaprio, once again, is a prime example of double success. In 2002, the actor starred in “Gangs of New York” and “Catch Me if You Can,” which opened on December 20 and 25, respectively. Both films certainly had a contender against “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers,” but “Catch Me If You Can” opened in second place, bumping “Gangs of New York” from fourth to fifth.

“It’s not the ideal,” says Dergarabedian of such situations. “The reason the release calendar is what it is is because it has to be very strategic. You don’t want one movie that cannibalize the other with the same actor; you don’t necessarily want to compete with yourself. But it’s a very high-level problem.”

The bottom line is that films starring Majors that take the top two spots are “the box-office equivalent of Halley’s Comet.”

Dergarabedian explains: “The planets had to line up. It’s like 300 in bowling, perfect golf. There are no really appropriate comparisons for something like this, but it’s a massive achievement because of its rarity.”

Jonathan Majors as Damien Anderson in “Creed III”
Pavo’s secret


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