Box Office: ‘Cocaine Bear’ Cracks $8.6 Million Opening Day, ‘Ant-Man 3’ Projects Record Drop for Marvel

The box office can be an institution of simple pleasures. Hollywood releases the story of a rampaging bear drugged out of its mind and — what do you know? — the people roll out.

Cocaine Bear” drew a solid $8.6 million opening day gross from 3,534 theaters, a figure that includes $2 million in Thursday previews. That places the Universal release ahead of projections heading into the weekend, which had the gory comedy pegged at a debut between $15 million and $17 million. A fun marketing campaign and a killer premise have given the film a strong position, with a debut north of $21 million now in the cards.

More from Variety

That would mark an auspicious kick-off for “Cocaine Bear,” which carries a production budget of $35 million. Reviews have been a bit all over the place; the film carries a 51% approval rating from top critics on review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences are also a bit lukewarm, as the film landed a “B-” grade through research firm Cinema Score, though a middling grade is fairly standard for a genre release with a horror slant. But, at the end of the day, “Cocaine Bear” is titled “Cocaine Bear”; the straightforward premise is proving to be a winner and audiences have to see the film to believe it.

Alongside a CGI bear (no real bears did cocaine during production), “Cocaine Bear” stars Keri Russell, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Alden Ehrenreich, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ray Liotta and Brooklynn Prince. Inspired by a true story, the film follows the residents of a small town in Georgia who must survive a murderous bear after it ingests a duffel bag filled with cocaine. The film is (very loosely) based on a true story.

While “Cocaine Bear” was the biggest earner on Friday, it likely will land in second place on final weekend charts, behind the sophomore outing of “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.” But though the superhero entry is staying a step ahead of the competition, Marvel has certainly seen better box office days.

The bottom dropped out of the Disney release in its second Friday, notching an $8.3 million gross, an 82% plummet from its opening day last week. Industry projections are forecasting roughly $30 million for the “Ant-Man” entry, which would mark a 72% week-to-week drop. That would be a record for a Marvel Cinematic Universe film, none of which have tumbled more than 70% in a second weekend. In fact, the only film to land a domestic opening above $100 million before falling more than 70% is the final “Harry Potter” entry, 2011’s “The Deathly Hallows — Part 2.”

With a domestic gross now standing at $143 million, “Quantumania” is still running away as the biggest release of 2023 so far. But the massive drop demonstrates how poor word-of-mouth could be impacting the film, which has earned more negative reactions than the average Marvel release.

“Quantumania” landed an “Ant-Man” series-high opening of $105.5 million last week, blasting past the debut of its predecessor, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” ($75 million). Even with that head start, second weekend projections for “Quantumania” are landing awfully close to the second weekend of the 2018 entry ($29 million).

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” wrapped its 2018 run with $216 million domestically and $622 million worldwide. While those numbers aren’t small potatoes, a finish in that neighborhood for “Quantumania” would likely be seen as a disappointment for Marvel. The film carries a $200 million production budget (bigger than prior “Ant-Man” entries) and tees up Jonathan Majors’ Kang, a villain that will play a larger role in future Marvel Cinematic Universe entries.

In third place on domestic charts, “Jesus Revolution” is scoring an impressive debut after earning $6.95 million on Friday, a figure that includes $3.3 million in grosses from early access screenings earlier in the week. Playing in 2,475 theaters, the film is projecting an opening in the low eight-figures. The Lionsgate release from Kingdom Story Company is outperforming projections, boosted by a rapturous audience response (the film scored an “A+” grade through Cinema Score).

“Jesus Revolution” follows a young couple who help to revitalize a pastor’s quiet church. The film stars Jonathan Roumie, Joel Courtney, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Kelsey Grammer, Anna Grace Barlow and DeVon Franklin, while Jon Erwin and Brent McCorkle co-direct.

“Avatar: The Way of Water” looks to take fourth, earning $1.1 million on Friday. Still hanging around in its 11th weekend of release, James Cameron’s sci-fi sequel has earned a massive $661 million at the domestic box office so far.

Fifth place should go to another holiday season holdover in Universal’s “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish.” The DreamWorks spinoff looks to add an additional $4 million in its 10th weekend of release, boosting its domestic haul to an impressive $173 million.

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.