Universal Pictures’ horror-comedy Cocaine Bear was the big winner at the box office this weekend, debuting at No. 2 with a projected domestic gross of $23 million — significantly higher than its expected $17 million to $19 million.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania remained No. 1 at the box office through Feb. 26 for its second consecutive win. But its projected gross of $32 million signaled a steep drop of nearly 70% from its opening weekend tally.
Cocaine Bear boosted its earnings with an additional $5 million overseas.
Directed by Elizabeth Banks and based in part on a 1985 incident in which a deceased black bear was found in Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia with 70 pounds of ingested cocaine in its stomach, the movie is the third in a trio of studio releases (M3GAN and Violent Night) marketing farcical storylines to box office success.
“It’s an outrageous comedy that absolutely delivers on its premise,” Jim Orr, president of domestic distribution at Universal, said in a statement. “People were ready to see something over the top.”
No. 3 at the box office was Lionsgate’s faith-based Jesus Revolution, which opened to $15.5 million in ticket sales — easily topping projected revenue projections.
To reach its audience, Lionsgate worked to build word-of-mouth among faith-leaning audience sectors organizing viewing to tens of thousands across the country via church screenings, University screenings, and other initiatives, including outreach to CCM music artists, among other grassroots efforts.
Like Lionsgate’s recent hit Plane, given its budget, financial model and marketing campaign, Jesus Revolution appears well-positioned to become another fiscal hit for the studio distributor.
Rounding out the top 5 was 20th Century Studios’ Avatar: The Way of Water and Universal’s Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. Director James Cameron’s Avatar sequel sold about $4.7 million worth of tickets to up its global haul to $2.267 million, third all-time.
The Last Wish added $4.1 million to reach $442 million globally after 10 weeks of release. The movie is concurrently available in the home across premium VOD and premium electronic sellthrough retail channels.
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