Jonathan Majors rules the weekend box office

‘Creed III’ and ‘Quantumania’ give the actor back-to-back No. 1 movies. PLUS: There’s a new Hellboy, ‘Succession’ gets a trailer, and Jenna Ortega breezes through ‘Hot Ones.’

Jonathan Majors rules the weekend box office
Jonathan Majors in Creed III. / MGM

It’s a good time to be Jonathan Majors. You’re playing the major villain of the current Marvel Cinematic Universe saga. There’s already awards buzz over your upcoming Magazine Dreams role. And you’re in Michael B. Jordan’s directorial debut — which just happens to be the latest installment in the Rocky/Creed franchise.

The age of Majors played out in movie theaters this past weekend, with Creed III and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania taking the top two spots at the domestic box office. According to a Reddit post (via Vanity Fair), Majors is the first actor to star in two different No. 1 movies in back-to-back weeks since Josh Brolin did it with Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2 in 2018. Jessica Chastain also pulled off this feat with Zero Dark Thirty and Mama in 2013.

Creed III scored not just the best opening weekend for the Rocky franchise (beating Creed’s $29.6 million debut and Creed II’s $35.6 million debut), but according to The Numbers, it had the highest opening weekend for any sports drama. While I’m not exactly sure on the scientific specificity of “sports drama,” Creed III’s $58.7 million first weekend puts it ahead of films like Ford v Ferrari ($31.5 million), Remember the Titans ($20.9 million) and Seabiscuit ($20.9 million).

Out of curiosity, I pulled up the “sports comedy” category on The Numbers to see if maybe a film on that list had opened higher than Creed III’s debut, but those numbers are even lower. (Semi-Pro at $15.1 million, 80 for Brady at $12.7 million, Happy Gilmore at $10.1 million.)

The only sports film I could think of that was missing from these categories but had the punch to open big was Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Turns out that one had an opening weekend of $47 million, so yeah, Creed III appears to be the champion.

The Majors-related box office news from this weekend isn’t all great, though. After a big opening weekend, Quantumania continues to plummet at the box office. The latest Ant-Man film fell another 61 percent its third weekend in release, grossing just $12.5 million.

I went through the third-weekend numbers for the MCU, and that number for Quantumania is one of the worst for the megafranchise in that category.

  1. The Incredible Hulk $9.6 million
  2. Eternals $11.1 million
  3. Black Widow $11.6 million
  4. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania $12.5 million
  5. Ant-Man $12.8 million
  6. Captain America: The First Avenger $13 million
  7. Thor: The Dark World $14.2 million
  8. Thor $15.5 million
  9. Doctor Strange $17.8 million
  10. Spider-Man: Far From Home $21.2 million

Of the three films that had worse third weekends than Quantumania, The Incredible Hulk was released before the MCU was even the MCU and Black Widow was a pandemic release that was available on Disney+ the same day it hit theaters. Only Eternals (which I like!) had a legitimately poor box office performance in this context.

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The News
Detective Pikachu in Detective Pikachu. / Warner Bros. Pictures

Portlandia co-creator might direct Detective Pikachu sequel

Detective Pikachu grossed $429 million worldwide when it was released in 2019. I thought it was an entertaining take on the Pokémon universe, especially with Ryan Reynolds in the mix as the voice of Detective Pikachu.

According to Deadline, the wheels are finally turning on a sequel, with Portlandia co-creator Jonathan Krisel in talks to direct the film. The outlet says that while there are no deals at the moment, Reynolds is expected to be involved in the Detective Pikachu sequel in some way.

Keanu Reeves in John Wick: Chapter 4. / Lionsgate

John Wick: Chapter 4 tracking for a franchise best debut

Through the first three John Wick movies, the franchise has improved on its box office performance with each new installment. That trend is expected to continue with John Wick: Chapter 4, with Deadline reporting last week that the upcoming film in tracking for an opening weekend between $60 million and $70 million.

A domestic opening in that range would easily top John Wick’s $14.4 million debut and John Wick: Chapter Two’s $30.4 million debut. If the tracking holds, this one will beat John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum’s $56.8 million opening weekend too.

The Hellboy reboot finds its lead

Hellboy: The Crooked Man, the second reboot of the Hellboy film franchise, is moving along pretty quickly. News broke last week that The Strain’s Jack Kesy had scored the lead role in the film.

I’m not familiar with Kesy and confused him with She-Hulk’s Josh Segarra at first. (I’d actually like to see that casting.)

Deadline also reported that Jefferson White and Adeline Rudolph have joined The Crooked Man.

I can’t say it bodes well for this movie when every new bit of casting is someone who I’m totally unfamiliar with. Not quite Ron Perlman and David Harbour here.

💬 💬 💬 Wanna share your comments, questions or recommendations? Leave a comment at the bottom of the newsletter.

Deep SNL Thoughts
Travis Kelce, Devon Walker, Chloe Fineman, Marcello Hernandez, Ego Nwodim and James Austin Johnson in Saturday Night Live. / NBC
Deep SNL Thoughts: Travis Kelce knocks out ‘Please Don’t Destroy’
I did it. I watched the Travis Kelce episode of Saturday Night Live. As a lifelong Buffalo Bills fan, I’ve more than seen enough of Kelce and his fellow Kansas City Chiefs during the NFL playoffs. Voluntarily watching him for an entire episode of SNL

Trailer Watch


What are we going to do when Succession is gone? Where will be without the highly quotable dialogue from Logan Roy and Cousin Greg?

Succession returns on March 26.

Haunted Mansion

It only took twenty years (wow, how has it been that long?), but Disney is ready to turn its Haunted Mansion ride into a film again. Dear White People director Justin Simien is at the helm of this one, and Disney has given him quite the cast to try to make Haunted Mansion a success, including LaKeith Stanfield, Rosario Dawson, Owen Wilson, Tiffany Haddish, Danny DeVito and Jamie Lee Curtis.

Haunted Mansion premieres on July 28.

Michael B. Jordan and Jonathan Majors in Creed III. / MGM

Weekend of March 3-5, 2023

Creed III (N)
Weekend gross: $58.7M / Total domestic gross: $58.7M / Percent drop: NA

While I had a hunch that Sylvester Stallone was missing from Creed III (the ninth movie in the Rocky franchise) due to creative differences, I had no idea how toxic the relationship was between Stallone and Rocky rights owner Irwin Winkler.

  1. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (1)
    Weekend gross: $12.5M / Total domestic gross: $186.8M / Percent drop: -61
  2. Cocaine Bear (2)
    Weekend gross: $11M / Total domestic gross: $41.3M / Percent drop: -53
  3. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba — To the Swordsmith Village (N)
    Weekend gross: $10.1M / Total domestic gross: $10.1M / Percent drop: NA
  4. Jesus Revolution (3)
    Weekend gross: $8.7M / Total domestic gross: $30.5M / Percent drop: -46

Box office numbers via The Numbers

Chris Perfetti, Shwayze, Janella James, William Stanford Davis and Tyler James Williams in the Abbott Elementary episode “Mural Arts.” / ABC

Abbott Elementary

“Mural Arts”

“I’m going to go to Bone Town with Mo, then break up with him,” might be the funniest line in Abbott Elementary’s short history. Every line about Bone Town. Every scene at Bone Town.

This episode continued to bring the potential effort to turn Abbott into a charter school back into the mix. Just five episodes left to go this season. Will we see Leslie Odom Jr. again before the season is over?

Hot Ones

“Jenna Ortega Doesn’t Flinch While Eating Spicy Wings”

“Too easy,” Jenna Ortega says at one point during this episode. As I remarked in a previous edition of Popculturology, it’s funny to see Sean Evans have to massage the egos of people like LL Cool J when they start talking about The Classic: Maple Hot being too much to handle. It’s even more funny when you follow that episode with Ortega effortlessly breezing through the Hot Ones lineup.


“CORRECTIONS (Joyce’s Version)”

I almost submitted my first correction early last week when Seth Meyers referred to Luke’s landspeeder in the original Star Wars movie as a “cruiser.” Everyone knows that cruisers are actual ships that travel in space.

Whoever sent in those Seth and Mac Tonight BrickHeadz did a fantastic job creating them.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Inspired by Pedro Pascal being in just about everything these days, we rented The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent on Friday night.

While both Caitlin and I were into the film at the beginning — how can you not be interested in Pascal? — this one lost both of us by the end, with Caitlin calling it a night with half an hour left to go and myself spending the final chunk looking at my phone while watching.

I really wanted to like this one, but I don’t think the film’s central gimmick was strong enough to make it an entire two hours.

The Links

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Odds and Ends

Cut for Time: NFL Gives Back

This one supposedly didn’t air during Travis Kelce’s SNL episode. I didn’t catch it while I watching and at first thought I had fast-forwarded past it. I’m surprised the show didn’t include this sketch. It fits right in with previous pretapes starring athletes. Would Peyton Manning’s “Little Brothers” sketch have had the same impact if it was online only?

“Adult Legoist” hit too close to home.

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