‘Ready Player One.’

Here is a surprise: Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One opened at No. 1 last weekend in the US and every major international market with two notable exceptions: Australia and the UK.

Spielberg’s take on Ernest Cline’s young adult novel was beaten by Peter Rabbit, which raced through its second weekend in Oz and its third in the UK.

It was a lucrative Easter for cinemas here as the top 20 titles harvested $23.4 million through Monday, according to Numero.

Disney’s domestic under-achiever A Wrinkle in Time misfired but Blockers, Love, Simon, The Death of Stalin and The Other Side of Hope plus Indian imports Baaghi 2 and Rangasthalam all began brightly.

Directed by Will Gluck and featuring the voices of James Corden, Domhnall Gleeson, Rose Byrne, Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki and Daisy Ridley, Peter Rabbit rustled up $5.4 million over the Easter break, advancing to $10.1 million.

The live action/CGI animated family comedy/adventure co-produced by Animal Logic Entertainment has amassed $US230.7 million globally including $30.9 million in the UK, with France, South Korea and Japan ahead.

Produced by Warner Bros., Village Roadshow and Amblin, Ready Player One rang up $5 million in Australia, roughly in line with the four-day domestic debut of $US53.7 million.

The sci-fi action adventure starring Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Lena Waithe, Simon Pegg and Mark Rylance scored $181.2 million worldwide, including $65 million in China.

Aussie exhibitors say Spielberg’s film is generating excellent word-of-mouth so it could well have a sustained run.

Universal’s Blockers, a teen comedy which veers into a mid-life crisis directed by Kay Cannon, which stars Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, John Cena and Kathryn Newton, fetched $3.3 million and $4.4 million including previews.

Fox’s Love, Simon, a gay coming-of-age romance directed by Greg Berlanti, mustered $1.5 million and $2.1 million with previews, drawing a wide audience from teens to adult couples and families.

“We’re delighted that this queer romance, notable for being produced by Rupert Murdoch’s 20th Century Fox, has been acknowledged by audiences and critics as an important step forward in on-screen diversity,” Cinema Nova general manager Kristian Connelly tells IF.

The weighty of competition overwhelmed director Steven S. DeKnight’s Pacific Rim: Uprising, which plummeted to $1.3 million in its second weekend, making $4.6 million thus far for Universal.

Director Ava Du Vernay’s adventure fantasy A Wrinkle in Time has earned $83.3 million in the US so the Australian opening of $1.27 million is not surprising, despite the star cast led by Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and Aussie Levi Miller.

Marvel Studios/Disney’s Black Panther climbed to $38.9 million after collaring $1 million in its seventh weekend. The Ryan Coogler-directed blockbuster’s worldwide total ascended to $1.27 billion, surpassing Beauty and the Beast to rank at No. 11 in the all-time annals.

Norwegian director Roar Uthaug’s Tomb Raider unearthed $681,000 in its third weekend, banking a mediocre $6 million for Warner Bros.

Writer-director Armando Iannucci’s political satire The Death of Stalin, which stars Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Paddy Considine, Rupert Friend, Jason Isaacs, Michael Palin and Andrea Riseborough, generated $726,000 for Madman Entertainment with previews.

Fox’s spy thriller Red Sparrow has minted a more than respectable $9.4 million after nabbing $399,000 in its fifth outing.

Telugu director Sukamar’s 1980s-set action thriller Rangasthalam grossed $327,000 for distributor Southern Star while Ahmed Khan’s romantic actioner Baaghi 2, which stars Tiger Shroff and Disha Patani, drummed up $325,000 for Mind Blowing Films, both playing on 30 screens.

Released by Sony, director Andrew Hyatt’s Biblical drama Paul, Apostle of Christ opened with $286,000 on 53 screens.

Aki Kaurismaki’s The Other Side of Hope, a comedy/drama about a Finnish businessman who meets a Syrian asylum-seeker looking for his missing sister, fetched $134,000 on 20 screens and $344,000 with previews and festival screenings for Palace.


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