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New box-office champion ‘Creed III’ scores biggest opening of the franchise

MGM’s “Creed III” is the new heavyweight champion at the domestic box office, beating Disney and Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” this weekend by $58.7 million, according to estimates from measurement agency Comscore.

MGM reports that the latest installment in the “Creed” franchise has scored the all-time biggest domestic opening for a sports film, surpassing 2015’s “Creed” ($29.6 million), 2018’s “Creed II” ($35. 6 million), all “Rocky” movies and the previous record holder, 2010’s “Karate Kid” ($55.7 million).

“Many franchises are subject to the law of diminishing returns,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, said in a statement, “but ‘Creed’ is a welcome exception and the continued interest and excitement moviegoers have for this character and these films being generational and spiritual successors to the ‘Rocky’ brand, a brand that started almost 50 years ago, is quite remarkable.

“Creed III,” directed by Michael B. Jordan, stars Jordan and Jonathan Majors as childhood friends turned boxing foes. (Majors, who also plays the villain in “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” appears in both the No. 1 and No. 2 domestic box office titles this weekend.)

The main cast of Jordan’s directorial debut includes Tessa Thompson, Wood Harris, Florian Munteanu and Phylicia Rashad. The boxing drama received an amazing 87% fresh rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes and an A-minus from audiences polled by CinemaScore.

In her Los Angeles Times review of “Creed III”, film critic Katie Walsh praised the highly anticipated sequel as “a solid first feature with an underwhelming performance” from Majors.

“Jordan’s steady direction elevates the material, holding strong tone and emotional tenor,” writes Walsh.

“But what Jordan does best as a star, director and producer is showcasing Majors’ heavyweight prowess, making him one of our brightest stars. Taking on a behind-the-scenes role is part of the ‘Rocky’ legacy, and Jordan takes the reins with ease, defending Majors and ushering in an exciting new chapter of his career beyond ‘Creed.’

Rounding out the weekend’s domestic box office top five is “Ant-Man,” which grossed $12.5 million in its third weekend for a North American cumulative of $186.8 million; Universal Pictures’ ‘Cocaine Bear’, which devoured $11 million in its second weekend for a $41.3 million North American loot; “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – to the Swordsmith Village” from Crunchyroll Studios, launched at $10.1 million; and Lionsgate’s “Jesus Revolution,” which grossed $8.7 million in its second weekend for a North American cumulative $30.5 million.

Sony Pictures’ ’65’, Focus Features’ ‘Champions’ and Paramount Pictures’ ‘Scream VI’ will be widely released this weekend.