Weekend Box Office: March Goes Out Like a Boss, Baby.

A strong March at the North America box office was capped off by a tight race for the number one spot between Fox/Dreamworks’ The Boss Baby and Disney’s two-time champ Beauty and the Beast. Paramount’s pricey sci-fi flick Ghost In the Shell showed plenty of cracks in its third place opening while Focus Features’ The Zookeeper’s Wife had a decent limited release start in tenth. While the top ten was down 17% from last weekend’s totals, it was up a healthy 38% over one year ago at this time.

Backed by a massive marketing campaign that targeted both kids and adults, The Boss Baby talked up a smart $49 million in its opener at 3,773 theaters. Reviews were mixed for the Alec Baldwin-voiced cartoon, but audiences seemed to enjoy the flick. They gave the animated comedy an “A-“ CinemaScore rating.

The opening for Boss Baby was the tenth biggest for Dreamworks Animation studios, just between the $47.6 million debut for Kung Fu Panda 2 and the $49.4 million brought in by How to Train Your Dragon 2 three years ago. Both sequels went on to finish with $165 million and $177 million, respectively. With the Easter holiday and spring vacations coming up for many schools, Boss Baby should be able to earn a similar amount. Overseas, The Boss Baby earned $21 million this weekend.

It may no longer be the Belle of the box office –that may change once the actual numbers are reported on Monday-, but Disney’s Beauty and the Beast remained a force to be reckoned with in second. The musical smash was off 47% from its third weekend, earning an estimated $47.5 million from 4,210 theaters. So far, Beauty and the Beast has collected an incredible $395.5 million domestically and an additional $481 million overseas. The film will cross the billion-dollar milestone within a few weeks.

Paramount suffered its latest box office misfire this weekend courtesy of the sci-fi epic Ghost in the Shell. The critically dismissed version of the 1995 Japanese anime of the same name earned a weak $19 million from 3,440 theaters. Viewers that ventured out to see the Scarlett Johansson headliner weren’t all that thrilled with it either. They gave the movie a “B” on CinemaScore.

What went wrong for the $110 million production? Many cite the controversial casting of a white actress playing an Asian character, but a better explanation may be a case of cinematic déjà vu. Themes and concepts once considered groundbreaking in Mamoru Oshii’s anime classic has now become passé thanks to the likes of the Matrix trilogy, Avatar, Ex Machina and countless others. While the ads for Ghost in the Shell promised a visually spectacular experience, the film’s story could only muster a yawn.

The disappointing opening for Ghost in the Shell marks the latest box office misfire for Paramount following the poor box office performances of Monster Trucks, xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, Allied and Silence. The studio could take a little solace from overseas this weekend, where the movie opened to $41 million.

A week ago this past Friday, Lionsgate’s Power Rangers earned $14.5 million in its first day of release. This weekend, that’s how much it earned for the entire weekend. Word got out fast on the reboot of the cult ‘90s TV series, which helped it fall a dangerous 65% in its second round on 3,693 theaters. After ten days, Power Rangers has earned $65 million so far and could be heading to the $80 million mark. Foreign totals for the reboot so far stand at $32.7 million.

Rounding out the top five this weekend was Warner’s Big Monkey epic Kong: Skull Island with an estimated $9 million from 3,141 theaters. Off 38% in its fourth week of release, Kong has fought its way to $148 million so far. A final domestic total between $165-170 million is possible. Overseas, Kong has earned a mighty $329 million so far.

  1.  Logan (Fox) $6.2 million (-40%); $212 million
  1.  Get Out (Universal) $5.8 million (-34%); $157 million
  1.  Life (2017) (Sony) $5.6 million (-55%); $22.3 million
  1.  CHiPS (2017) (Warner) $4 million (-47%); $14.3 million

The third new release of the weekend was Focus Features’ drama The Zookeeper’s Wife, which landed in tenth place with a decent $3.3 million from 541 screens. The Jessica Chastain feature received mixed reviews from critics.

Next weekend looks to be an off weekend for the box office as the first full weekend of April brings the openings for Smurfs: The Lost Village, the remake of Going in Style and the faith-based feature The Case for Christ. Watch for The Boss Baby or perhaps even Beauty and the Beast to occupy the top spot.

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