It appears to be a weekly occurrence: a passel of new releases fruitlessly get released, only to be thwarted by the noir feline from Wakanda. Warner Brothers tried to reconstitute a video game franchise, with weak results. Meanwhile, an overlooked faith-based title overperformed in the shadows of the bigger titles.

Much like last week, when a diversity title was overshadowed, the flailing of an action set piece is only made worse when juxtaposed against a global smash. As has been the case for a month now everything that plays out in the top-10, from debuts and success rates, is all relative as they are mitigated by the super cat coughing up a hairball of cash yet again. (Just outside the leaders, Sony’s reboot of “Jumanji” crossed $400 million, and is crawling up to “Spider-Man” as that studio’s highest grossing film ever.)

 

BLACK PANTHER – $27.02Million
Making for the fifth consecutive week at #1 this comic book mega-hit has been delivering the numbers. Crossing over $600 million it is now creeping up on “The Avengers”, which stands as the biggest-grossing comic book title ($623m). It should pass this number for domestic theaters, with the only remaining question being can it reach the $1.5 billion global total that title achieved. The profits for Disney/Marvel are sure to be greater, as “Panther” cost less than its other top-grossing titles, and the ensemble pics had to share profits with more actors.

 

2. TOMB RAIDER – $23.5m
The attempt to reboot this video game adaptation franchise has been underwhelming. This debut comes closer to the disappointing sequel “Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life”, that put the brakes on the franchise developing any further. Audiences gave the film a “B” CinemaScore, which will not lead to strong holds going forward as the choice to have the film led by Alicia Vikander, who is more of an arthouse actress, did not generate enough interest. The improbable action and insistence on selling the female empowerment (which honestly is already assumed in this venture) was more detraction.

 

3. I CAN ONLY IMAGINE – $17.06m
This Christian-themed film from Roadside Attractions surprised many with such a robust return. Some of the most optimistic projections had this earning about half this total. With a budget of just $7 million this is a pure win. Appearing on only 1,600 screens means the screen average of $10,000 was tops of all films for the week, even besting “Panther”. Depending on how the movie holds during its run this may challenge “Manchester By The Sea” as Roadside’s biggest title.

 

4. A WRINKLE IN TIME – $16.56m
While dropping an expected -50% is not too jarring what is in fact embarrassing is that this large-budgeted special effects epic cost near 15x as much, and had a greater promotional push – while appearing on 2,300 more screens – than “Imagine”. That is a staggering contrast.

 

5. LOVE, SIMON – $11.5m
A coming-of-age romantic comedy centered on a gay teen who has yet to tell his family. Critics raved about it, with a number comparing to a John Hughes production. It too had a per-screen average higher than “Wrinkle”.

 

6. GAME NIGHT – $5.57m
The adult comedy has been lingering, showing some surprising legs after a modest opening. This week was again a decent hold of just -29% as it has climbed past the $50 million mark.

 

7. PETER RABBIT – $5.2m
Serving as about the only family title has been the key to this one sticking around after six weeks. It still stands in 2,700 theaters and crossed the $100 million line as Easter approaches.

 

8. STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT – $4.81m
The long-to-arrive sequel takes a steep -54% drop after a soft opening last week. There has been little demand for this horror redux.

 

9. RED SPARROW – $4.45m
Jennifer Lawrence’s action piece has suffered against mammoth competition, but has seen surprisingly more interest overseas. It has yet to even reach $40 million domestic, but globally finds it over $100 million.

 

10. DEATH WISH – $3.37m
Another action film that has withered in the “Black Panther” shadow. After three weeks it is only nudging up against $30 million.