Jason Statham’s New Action Thriller ‘Wrath Of Man’ Opens At No. 1 With An $8.1 Million Bow
On a weekend when all of the box-office prognosticators were primed to talk about how Marvel had done it again with Black Widow, those talking points were thrown out the window when the studio decided to push the Scarlett Johansson tentpole from May 7 to July 9. Fortunately, the weekend found another action hero waiting in the wings ready to save the day—Jason Statham, whose latest bareknuckle action-thriller, United Artists’ Wrath of Man, opened at No. 1 in North America with an $8.1 million bow.

That relatively modest debut is hardly the sort of blockbuster haul one usually associates with a star-driven vehicle hitting theaters in the first half of May (traditionally regarded as some of the most prime real estate on Hollywood’s annual release calendar). But the benchmarks of summer movies seasons past have proven to be meaningless in the age of COVID, even if the pandemic finally (thankfully) seems to be winding down in the US.

Statham’s latest heist flick, which reunited him with his old Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch director, Guy Ritchie, was met with mixed reviews from critics. But audiences were clearly in a more forgiving mood, giving Wrath of Man an A- grade from CinemaScore. The R-rated film opened in 2,875 theaters, where it earned a $2,817 per-screen average. The movie fared even better overseas, where it pulled in $17.6 million, bringing its combined worldwide gross to $25.7 million. Unlike many other recent big-studio releases, Wrath was not simultaneously released on a streaming service or via premium VOD. It could only be seen on the big screen, which no doubt helped to boost its take. Still, it was a far cry from the $45.4 million domestic opening of Statham’s most recent leading-man vehicle, 2018’s The Meg.

In second place was last week’s box-office champ, FUNimation Entertainment’s Demon Slayer: Mugen Train, which pulled in a hair less than $3.1 million in its third weekend in North America. The R-rated anime adventure slipped -52.4% from the previous frame and managed a $1,462 per-screen average in 2,088 theaters. However, the film continues to clean up abroad, where its $395.7 million total dwarfs its $37.2 million domestic tally. Its cumulative worldwide gross to date now stands at $432.9 million, which makes it the highest-grossing anime film of all time.

In third place was Warner Bros.’ Mortal Kombat, which took in slightly under $2.4 million in its third weekend. The R-rated live-action adaptation of the hit videogame franchise nosedived -61.9% from the prior weekend, scoring a $798 per-screen average in 2,973 theaters. The film’s three-week domestic total is now $37.8 million. In overseas territories, it has added $34.7 million to date, bringing its cumulative worldwide box office to $72.5 million.

In fourth place was Warner Bros.’ Godzilla vs. Kong, which collected $1.9 million in its sixth session. The PG-13-rated tentpole lost some more steam, dropping off -31.6% from the previous weekend. The movie earned a $713 per-screen average in 2,705 theaters over the weekend. The kaiju-fest was also available on the HBO Max. Godzilla vs. Kong’s domestic total now sits at roughly $93 million. If it can just keep roaring for a few more weeks, it should become the first film since the pandemic began to cross the $100-million mark domestically. Meanwhile, after adding the monster mash-up’s $329.6 million in foreign receipts, its worldwide box-office total is a robust $422.6 million.

Rounding out the Top Five again was Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon. In its tenth week, the PG-rated computer-animated adventure padded its take with slightly less than $1.9 million domestically. That number represents a nice rebound from the previous weekend thanks to the addition of several hundred new locations, which gave its business a +35% boost. Despite also being available on the Disney+ streaming platform for a $30 fee, the film had a $805 per-screen average in 2,315 theaters, bringing its domestic box-office total to $43.8 million. Overseas, Raya has racked up $61.7 million to date, pushing its current worldwide total to $105.5 million.

The weekend’s only other new entry in the Top 10 was Sony/Stage 6’s Here Today, which opened in seventh place. The PG-13-rated comedy starring Billy Crystal as a comedy writer who forms an unlikely friendship with Tiffany Haddish’s New York street singer opened to $900,000 in North America. The movie had a $750 per-screen average in 1,200 theaters. It had not yet opened internationally. On a final note, for box-office watchers on the lookout for the next big newsmaker, the date to underline on your calendars is now May 28. That’s when Disney’s Cruella and Paramount’s A Quiet Place Part II will slug it out head to head in what should be the first major heavyweight showdown of the summer movie season.