In one corner, the live-action adaptation of a Disney animated classic. In the other, that movie where Alec Baldwin voices a CG infant.
Beauty and the Beast has ceded its #1 box office berth — after just two weeks — to The Boss Baby, based on Sunday estimates. The two are close, but Baby is currently on pace for a domestic take of $49 million, compared to Beauty's $47.5 million.
This could all change once the full weekend tallies — which aren't tabulated until Monday — are finalized.
It's hardly curtains for Beauty, which should finish the weekend just short of a $400 million total at the U.S. box office. The movie is already the top earner of 2017 domestically, with a commanding lead that very nearly doubles Logan's — at #2 — $211.9 year-to-date earnings.
The Boss Baby's weekend win might seem like a surprise, but there's important context fueling its success. In addition to a cast of starring voices that includes Lisa Kudrow, Jimmy Kimmel, Tobey Maguire, and Steve Buscemi, it's also the first family-friendly animated film to release in U.S. theaters since The Lego Batman Movie, which arrived Feb. 10.
Beauty and the Beast is an all-ages affair, while The Boss Baby is custom-made to attract a younger crowd. The colorful, CG animated comedy was bound to drum up more interest among younger viewers than the flesh-and-blood fantasy romance adapted from a movie that Boss Baby's target audience is probably too young to remember.
Falling in at #3 — and a very distant third, at that — is Paramount's live-action retelling of the manga and anime classic, Ghost in the Shell. It opened with an estimated $19 million in the U.S., which is likely far below what the studio would have hoped to see for its effects-heavy blockbuster with a reported budget of $110 million.
Dogged by a tepid critical response and a still-swirling controversy over the casting of Scarlett Johansson in the lead role — a move seen as an egregious act of whitewashing — Ghost faced an uphill battle in winning over audiences. And it didn't; not in the U.S., at least.
Paramount sees a much better outlook in foreign markets. Ghost opened in 52 locations outside the U.S. this weekend, claiming the top box office position in 11 of those and grossing an estimated $40.1 million.
Its international fortunes should improve even more in the next week when Ghost opens in Japan, where the manga and anime were born, and China. The latter is historically kind to Hollywood blockbusters — even trashy ones like Transformers and Warcraft — which counts for a lot when you're also the second largest film market in the world.
A few additional quick notes about the weekend box office:
Power Rangers finishes the weekend at #4, dropping down two spots in the rankings as its second weekend closes with an estimated $14.5 million. It's a big decline — 64 percent — after a decent opening weekend, though foreign sales — which stand right now at $32.7 million — should keep the possibility of a sequel in play for Lionsgate.
Kong: Skull Island rounds out the weekend's top five, with an estimate of $8.8 million bringing its domestic total just short of $150 million. Kong's biggest success — after four weeks — has come from foreign markets, however. It's amassed $329.5 million in non-U.S. ticket sales, with China accounting for more than 20 percent of that figure.
Logan is similarly hanging on, adding an estimated $6.2 million to its domestic total after five weekends. Much like Kong, Logan has found success outside the U.S. as well, with $373.6 million (more than a quarter of which comes from China).
Finally, Get Out — Jordan Peele's much-lauded directorial debut — continues to stick around. Its estimated $5.8 million weekend finish is only good enough for #7, but there's a fascinating bit of trivia here: in the six weekends since its theatrical release, Get Out has earned more than its reported $4.5 million budget during each of the three-day Friday-Sunday stretches.
All current box office estimates are provided by comScore and all historical data comes from Box Office Mojo.