Speaking of setting franchise records, “Creed III” came bounding into the ring last weekend with a series-best box office debut of $58.3 million. Though it’s been knocked down to No. 2 by the arrival of “Scream VI,” the sports sequel is looking at a strong hold in its second weekend, dropping just 54% with an estimated gross of $26.7 million (per The Hollywood Reporter). This means it’s also set to pass $100 million at the domestic box office in just 10 days. “Creed III” is the feature directorial debut of star Michael B. Jordan, and has a reported budget of $75 million before marketing (though according to Puck reporter Matthew Belloni, it may have been closer to $90 million with reshoots).
The two legacy sequels currently dominating the box office have something else in common: the absence of the franchise’s original lead actor. “Creed III” is the first movie in the “Rocky” series not to feature Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa. It does, however, benefit from the presence of rising star Jonathan Majors as Adonis Creed’s old friend and newfound nemesis, Damian “Dame” Anderson.
There’s another bit of deja vu today, as a movie with a terrible title and weak marketing finds itself buried from the get-go. Last weekend, Guy Ritchie’s “Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre” whiffed quietly into theaters with a debut of just $3.14 million. By comparison, sci-fi action thriller “65” is doing better with an estimated opening weekend total of $10-11 million — but that’s still not good for a movie with a $45 million budget.
While the CinemaScore is weak (C+) and reviews are about the same, I’m going to go ahead and pin the blame for this one squarely on the title. You’d never guess from “65” that this is a movie about Adam Driver traveling back in time and fighting dinosaurs. Come on, Sony. If you can’t sell that, what can you sell?