Liam Neeson’s ‘The Marksman’ Unseats ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ At The Domestic Box Office With $3.7 Million Over MLK Jr. Weekend
Moviegoers didn’t have much time to miss Liam Neeson, whose Honest Thief debuted in the top box-office spot back in October. Because now, just three months later, the AARP action star is back and this time he’s No. 1 with a bullet as his latest thriller, The Marksman, pulled in $3.2 million over the weekend and in total $3.7 million including the MLK Jr. holiday —more than enough to finally unseat Wonder Woman 1984, which had spent three straight weeks as the highest-grossing movie in North America.

Open Road Films, the indie behind The Marksman, has certainly found a good luck charm in the 68-year-old leading man. His new PG-13-rated suspenser, about an Arizona rancher who comes to aid of a Mexican boy being hunted by a south-of-the-border drug cartel, is his third No. 1 debut for the studio following 2012’s release of The Grey and 2020’s Honest Thief.

While Neeson’s films often have muscular openings, the fact that his latest toppled a tentpole the size of Wonder Woman while it was still in its first month reinforces both the star’s multiplex might and Wonder Woman’s surprising underperformance. Over the holiday weekend, The Marksman opened in 1,975 theaters and racked up a $1,875 per-screen average. It has not yet opened internationally.

As mentioned above, Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman 1984 got bumped to second place in its fourth weekend, lassoing just $2.6 million, not including the Monday holiday. Receipts for the DC title dipped -13.3% from the previous session. To date, the Gal Gadot-led epic has pulled in $35.8 million at the domestic box office and another $105.9 million overseas, totaling $141.7 million worldwide. The original Wonder Woman earned $822 million at the worldwide box office back in 2017. Of course, that was in a different era, long before the COVID pandemic shuttered roughly 65% of North American movie theaters.

The PG-13-rated movie’s lackluster run in theaters has no doubt been affected by Warner Bros.’ decision to release the film simultaneously on its HBO Max streaming service. And while the studio has not publicly released at-home viewership numbers yet, it was apparently pleased enough with the film’s performance to already greenlight another Wonder Woman sequel with both Gadot and director Patty Jenkins returning to the fold.

In third place was Universal and DreamWorks’ animated sequel The Croods: A New Age, which popped +12.7% in its eighth week, pulling in $2 million domestically. The PG-rated picture, which features the voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, and Ryan Reynolds, scored a $1,099 per-screen average in 1,855 theaters. It has racked up $40.1 million at the North American box office to date and $94.7 million overseas, adding up to an impressive $134.8 million worldwide gross.

In fourth place was Universal’s News of the World with $1.1 million in its fourth weekend. The PG-13-rated Western, starring Tom Hanks as a Civil War veteran escorting a young girl on a perilous frontier journey, slid -15.1% from the previous session, earning a $537 per-screen average in 1,953 theaters. The film has pulled in $8.7 million at the domestic box office so far. It has not opened internationally yet.

In fifth place was Screen Gems’ Monster Hunter, which managed $925,000 in its fifth weekend. The action-packed, PG-13-rated video game adaptation starring Milla Jovovich took a -16.4% ding in ticket sales from last weekend, scoring a $546 per-screen average in 1,694 theaters. Monster Hunter has made $9.2 million domestically so far and another $7.1 million internationally, equaling a worldwide box office total of $16.3 million.

Outside of the week’s Top 10, there was one final debut of note: a very timely one, in fact. MLK/FBI, a critically praised documentary about the civil rights leader’s harassment by the US government, earned $33,250 in 120 theaters over the long Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, which translates to a $277 per-screen average.