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(L to R) Jaeger mechs Saber Athena, Bracer Phoenix, Gipsy Avenger and Guardian Bravo in "Pacific Rim: Uprising." The globe-spanning conflict between otherworldly monsters of mass destruction and the human-piloted super-machines built to vanquish them was only a prelude to the all-out assault on humanity. (Universal Pictures)

Weekend box office: 'Pacific Rim' wins as 'Black Panther' makes history

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By RYAN PAINTER, KUTV

Weekend box office - March 23-25, 2018

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) - “<b>Pacific Rim: Uprising</b>” knocked “<b>Black Panther</b>” off its throne by opening to $28 million in North America. That’s slightly better than what most experts were predicting, but is still $9 million behind the numbers the original film made in 2013. That said, if you look at the worldwide totals, “Pacific Rim: Uprising” had a solid opening weekend, bringing in $178.5 million against its $150-million budget. That doesn’t guarantee that the film will prove to be profitable, but if it holds strong overseas, there’s a fair chance we’ll be getting “Pacific Rim 3” sometime in the next five years.

However, the big news of the weekend is still “Black Panther.” With $16.6 million, “Black Panther” might find itself in second place for the week, but King T'Challa ascended to a much more prestigious throne as the film’s domestic total of $631 million makes it the highest-earning superhero film ever in North America. It’s worldwide total now sits at $1.23 billion.

I Can Only Imagine,” a faith-based film that tells the story behind MercyMe’s song, had a very impressive second weekend as it added $13.8 million to push its total to $39 million. Considering the film cost only $7 million to make, that’s a massive return on investment.

Fourth place is likely to go to “Sherlock Gnomes” with an estimated $10.6 million. That’s something of a disappointment for Paramount as the first film, “Gnomeo & Juliet,” managed a $25 million opening. Maybe there was good reason as to why Disney declined to take part in producing the sequel.

It is entirely possible that “Tomb Raider,” which is currently predicted to finish the weekend in the fifth spot with $10.4 million, could move up into fourth place by the time all the tickets are counted. Regardless, its domestic total will be around a surprisingly low $41.7 million. However, fans of the film can take some comfort in the fact that it has done fantastic business overseas and has a worldwide total of $211 million. Seeing as the film cost $94 million to make, there’s a good chance that the video game adaptation is already making money.

The weekend’s other wide debuts offered lackluster numbers. “Paul, Apostle of Christ,” was overshadowed by “I Can Only Imagine” and brought in only $5 million. “Midnight Sun,” the romantic drama starring Bella Thorne, performed slightly better than some predicted with $4.1 million. “Unsane,” Steven Soderbergh’s latest film, managed $3.8 million.

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