Creed III emerged victorious at the box office with its impressive $58.7 million debut, setting a franchise record while dethroning two-time domestic charts champ “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.”
The film kicked off internationally with $41.8 million, bringing its global tally to a knockout $100.4 million.
It’s also a big win for theater owners, who are banking on the good fortunes to continue in March with upcoming releases “Scream VI,” “Shazam: Fury of the Gods” and “John Wick: Chapter 4.”
Overall ticket sales are 37% ahead of the same point in 2022, according to Comscore.
Heading into the weekend, “Creed III” was projected to earn $36 million to $40 million, which already would have been enough to establish a new high-water mark for the series.
The first “Creed,” which re-launched the decades-old “Rocky” films in 2015, powered to $29.6 million, while its 2018 sequel “Creed II” opened to $35.5 million.
But the third installment, directed by series star Michael B. Jordan in his feature filmmaking debut, got a boost from stellar reviews and strong audience scores. Initial ticket buyers, who awarded the film an “A-” CinemaScore, were 63% male while 55% were between the ages of 18 and 34. The movie brought out diverse audiences, as 23% were white, 28% were Latino, 36% were Black and 13% were Asian, according to PostTrak data.
“Creed III” also benefitted from pricier Imax tickets (a huge 38% of business came from premium large format screens), as well as a better-than-expected turnout on Friday with $22 million alone.
“Michael did an excellent job launching this film and, in doing so, offering further proof that the box office is back and ready to support this year’s strong, diversified slate,” says Imax CEO Rich Gelfond.
The $75 million-budgeted “Creed III” is the most expensive film in the trilogy (its predecessors cost $35 million and $50 million, respectively), but box office analysts are optimistic about its theatrical run.
Jordan stars in the movie as heavyweight champ Adonis Creed, son of boxing legend Apollo Creed, alongside Jonathan Majors as his childhood friend-turned-rival. It’s the first entry in the long-running series without Sylvester Stallone, who originated the role of Rocky Balboa and returned in the spinoffs as a mentor to Adonis. His absence didn’t appear to impact ticket sales.