BO Report: ‘Creed III’ comes out swinging as ‘Demon Slayer’ also lands a blow

Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed in 'Creed III'. (Photo: Ser Baffo/© 2023 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved)

The Creed franchise has shown it can still draw a crowd without Rocky, with the third instalment – the first not to feature Sylvester Stallone – taking the top spot at the Australian box office on the weekend and surpassing $US100 million worldwide.

Warner Bros.’ Creed III bowed to $3.3 million from 429 screens to average $7,804 per session, hitting harder than its predecessor, which opened to $3 million in 2018, and also nearly doubling the 2015 original’s opening weekend of $1.7 million.

It contributed to a opening of $US41.8 million from international markets. Stateside, the film achieved an impressive $US58.7 million, well above projected earnings.

Directed by star Michael B. Jordan, Creed III picks up with Adonis Creed thriving in both his family life and his career. However, when a childhood friend, played by Jonathan Majors, resurfaces after serving time in prison, Creed must put more than his career on the line to settle the score.

Majors is also the adversary in Disney’s Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, which was knocked down to second spot in the top 20, earning $1.4 million in its third outing to move to $13.7 million overall.

Universal’s Cocaine Bear kept the energy levels up in third position with $964,913 in second week – falling 35 per cent from its debut – for a gross total of $2.9 million.

Overall, the top 20 films at grossed $8.8 million, a 14 per cent increase on the previous weekend.

Village Cinemas national programming manager Geoff Chard told IF he was “very impressed” with the performance of Creed III.

“Word of mouth is fantastic, so we’re confident of a long run on the film,” he said.

Crunchyroll’s anime adventure Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – To the Swordsmith Village, based on Koyoharu Gotoge’s comic, was the next best-placed new release, opening to $738,464 from 141 screens; a screen average of $5,237.

The performance pushed Disney’s Avatar: Way of the Water down to fifth spot in its 12th frame, with a further $403,518 getting it to $92.8 million.

Magic Mike’s Last Dance from Warner Bros. and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish from Universal also maintained their presence in the top ten, with the former taking in $296,044 from its fourth week to go past $5.5 million, while the latter brought in $219,010 from its tenth outing, hitting $21.3 million overall and coming in eighth.

The only other fresh entry in the top ten was Disney’s Empire of Light, a 1980s-set English romantic drama from Sam Mendes starring Olivia Colman as the duty manager of a seaside cinema who struggles with mental health issues. The drama took $238,943 from 232 screens for an average of $1,030 per session, enough for seventh position.

The film was the number one film for Sydney’s Hayden Orpheum, with general manager Alex Temesvari highlighting its performance, along with Universal’s Oscar favourite Tár, as contributing to a “solid enough weekend” at the venue.

“Our #1 regular release film was Empire of Light, which actually saw us with the best result nationally,” he said.

“The old timey cinema setting may have played a part in that result or could just be a happy coincidence. I’m hoping the film plays right through March for us.

Tár continues to hold up very well with only minimal drops week on week but it’s really alternative content and special screenings that has been the most impressive over the past month.”

The remainder of the top ten was a battle of holdover films with Roadshow’s Fisherman’s Friends 2 hauling in $188,634, a fall 42 per cent, to move to $792,851, while Sony thriller Missing drew $173,098, a 46 per cent fall, for a gross total of $609,883.

Wallis Cinemas programming manager David Simpson reported only a “marginal lift” from the new releases, but noted that with Fisherman’s Friends 2 and previews for Transmission Films’ Living, “things weren’t too discouraging”.