Nostalgia works in mysterious ways at the box office.
Beauty and the Beast, Disney's live-action remake of the classic 1991 animated film, continued to make history in its second weekend, declining a scant 49 percent to an estimated $88 million from 4,210 locations, the fourth-biggest sophomore outing of all time. And its North American cume of $317 million is the fourth-biggest 10-day total in history. Overseas, Beauty likewise stayed atop the chart, grossing $119.2 million for a foreign tally of $373.3 million and $690.3 million globally.
Lionsgate and Saban's male-fueled Power Rangers, an edgier adaptation of the kids TV show produced by Haim Saban that began airing in the early 1990s, also succeeded in pulling on the heartstrings of those growing up on the series. The movie, rated PG-13, grossed a better-than-expected $40.5 million from 3,693 North American theaters, thanks to a strong turnout by millennials and following a successful and lengthy marketing campaign. Power Rangers also broke ground by being the first big-budget studio film to feature a superhero who questions whether or not they are gay.
"We knew that if this was going to work for us, we would need to get older audiences and not just kids because of the nostalgia factor," said Lionsgate distribution chief David Spitz. "It is such a beloved property."
Thanks to March releases Beauty, Logan and Kong: Skull Island - and now Power Rangers, among other titles - revenue for the month has crossed $1 billion for the first time ever at the domestic box office, eclipsing last year's record-setting March haul of $948.8 billion.
Power Rangers cost $100 million to make, so it will need to continue to do strong business around the globe. Facing fierce competition abroad from Beauty and other titles, the pic opened to a muted $18.7 million internationally from 62 markets for a global bow of $59.2 million. Rangers hopes to do big business in Japan - the franchise is based on a Japanese TV show - where it doesn't open until July.
Directed by Dean Israelite, Power Rangers follows five teens (Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin and Becky G) in a small town who discover artifacts that allow them to morph into crime-fighting heroes called The Power Rangers. They are tasked with learning to use their new skills in order to save their town from destruction by a power-hungry villain (Elizabeth Banks). Bryan Cranston also stars.
Nostalgia didn't help Warner Bros.' CHIPS, an R-rated take on the buddy-cop TV series about two California Highway Patrol officers that debuted in the late 1970s. The film opened to a dismal $7.6 million from 2,464 theaters for a seventh-place finish. Overseas, it likewise ran out of gas with $1.9 million from 31 territories.
Dax Shepard both directs and stars with Michael Pena in the action-comedy, which was skewered by critics and audiences alike (it earned a B- CinemaScore). CHIPS cost a more modest $25 million to produce.
The weekend's new original offering, Sony/Skydance's Life, fared better with an estimated $12.6 million from 3,146 locations, but is still a major disappointment.
The space horror-thriller, which stars Jack Gyllenhaal, follows a group of scientists on the International Space Station that discover a rapidly evolving lifeform that threatens the crew and all life on Earth. Ryan Reynolds and Rebecca Ferguson also star in the pic, which received solid reviews only to earn a dismal C+ CinemaScore from moviegoers. Skydance financed a majority of the $58 million budget.
Directed by Daniel Espinosa, Life placed No. 4 in North America behind Beauty, Power Rangers and holdover Kong: Skull Island. In its offshore debut, the film earned $16.1 million from 56 markets for a worldwide total of $28.7 million.
"We are incredibly proud of this film," said Sony distribution chief Rory Bruer.
Despite CHIPS, Warner Bros. had reason to celebrate this weekend. Overseas, Legendary and Warners' Kong: Skull Island roared to $93 million, thanks to a China debut of $72.1 million. The big-budget movie has now grossed $392.1 million globally.