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Box Office: ‘Wakanda Forever’ reigns with $ million, ‘She Said’ flops

Disney’s comic book sequel “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” extended its reign at the domestic box office. In its second weekend of release, the 30th installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has grossed $67.3 million between Friday and Sunday. But adult audiences continued to reject movies aimed directly at them, staying away from Universal’s “She Said,” a look at the pair of New York Times journalists who exposed Harvey Weinstein’s sexual abuses.

“Wakanda Forever,” which opened to $181 million and has so far generated $288 million in North America and $546.3 million worldwide. The film’s 63% drop was steeper than expected. Industry sources had expected a second weekend of more than $70 million in ticket sales.

By comparison, the original “Black Panther” – which grew into a $202 million blockbuster in 2018 – fell just 44.7% in its second weekend with $111 million. But that registered as particularly noteworthy things in the second weekend. Only six movies in history (four of them Marvel) have grossed at least $100 million in their sophomore forays. More recent MCU entries like “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” “Thor: Love and Thunder,” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home” all fell back to Earth by dropping about 67% after their massive debut.

The follow-up to “Black Panther” easily dominated the box office charts, even as two new films — Universal’s Harvey Weinstein investigative drama “She Said” and Searchlight’s dark comedy “The Menu” — opened in theaters across the country to work as counter-programming against the mighty heroes of Marvel.

Among new entrants, “The Menu” grossed $9 million from 3,100 domestic locations for a second-place finish. Mark Mylod directed the R-rated satire, in which Ralph Fiennes plays a celebrity chef who prepares a lavish, if perhaps a little stomach-churning, meal for a young couple (Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicolas Hoult) and other one-percenters.

Director Maria Schrader’s “She Said” flopped in its debut with an awful $2.2 million in 2,000 North American theaters. The promising $32 million budget award season has been well reviewed, but the critical notices weren’t enough to help it break through. The audience that did show up liked the movie and gave “She Said” an A CinemaScore.

‘She Said’ is the latest adult-oriented drama to struggle at the box office, joining underperforming films like ‘Triangle of Sadness’, ‘Tár’ and ‘Till’. Like “She Said,” all of these movies have scored strong reviews and generated Oscars buzz. Maybe older people are worried about COVID or have gotten used to watching stuff on streaming services, but the prestige fare business model has capsized.

Surprisingly successful, Fathom Events scored with “The Chosen Season 3: Episodes 1 & 2”, a faith-based series screening that earned an impressive $8.2 million to take third place. Rounding out the top five was “Black Adam” from Warner Bros. and DC with $4.5 million and Universal’s “Ticket to Paradise” with $3.2 million. That leaves the two films with domestic grosses of $157 million and $61.6 million, respectively.

Among the special titles, director Luca Guadagnino’s cannibal love story “Bones and All” premiered in five locations in New York and Los Angeles, earning $120,000 for an average of $23,983 per screen. MGM plans to expand the $20 million budget movie, led by Timothee Chalamet and Taylor Russell, as carnivorous lovers take a nationwide road trip on Nov. 23.

A24’s “The Inspection,” a drama about a gay man enlisting in the military during the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” era, made $65,492 on five screens in New York and Los Angles, for a movie per screen averages $13,188.

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