Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One claimed the top spot at the box office this weekend, bringing in $41.2 million over the three-day weekend period and $53.2 million over the four-day holiday span. That Thursday-through-Sunday total puts the film ahead of projects that estimated a $45 to $50 million domestic box office gross. Strong word of mouth coming from the film’s debut at the South By Southwest Film Festival, a CinemaScore of “A-“ and “Certified Fresh” rating of 76% at Rotten Tomatoes all may have helped the film exceed expectations.
This marks the iconic director’s first time opening a film at the number one box office spot in almost exactly a decade. The last time was in Memorial Day weekend 2008 when Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull debuted to a $126 million four-day domestic gross.
The film also opened rather aggressively overseas, taking in $128 million, with nearly half of that – $61.7 million – coming from China. That raises the film’s global gross to $181.2 million.
Ready Player One also has the second-highest opening of 2018, trailing behind champ Black Panther’s $202 million three-day debut. Now in its seventh week of release, Black Panther was still the third highest ticket seller this past weekend with an estimated $11.3 million. The film is currently the fifth highest domestic grosser with $650.7 million to its credit and is poised to overtake the Spielberg-produced Jurassic World ($652.2 million) at the number four spot next weekend. Depending how well it does it could conceivably also pass James Cameron’s Titanic, which has $659 million lifetime gross that includes its original release in 1997, a 2012 3D release and last year’s 20th anniversary re-release.
But Ready Player One still has a way to go if it is going to turn a profit. The film has a $175 million price tag and a rather high marketing bill to pay off. But considering that it doesn’t have too much competition to speak of for two weeks until the April 13th release of the video game adaptation Rampage starring Dwayne Johnson, it should have a pretty good head start on clearing that debt.