“Creed III’ has strongest opening weekend of any sports-themed movie

Credit: Eli Ade

Credit: Eli Ade

“Creed III” KOed the box office this past weekend, delivering a stronger-than-expected $58.6 million on domestic box office.

It’s now considered the biggest opening weekend ever for a sports-themed movie, exceeding “The Karate Kid” in 2010 ($55.6 million). (Caveat: this comparison is not inflation adjusted.)

An estimated 4 million Americans caught the movie in its first three days (plus previews on Thursday.)

The sequel, shot mostly in metro Atlanta but fictionally set in Los Angeles, did significantly better opening weekend than the first two of this franchise: 2015′s “Creed” ($29.6 million) and 2018′s “Creed II” ($35.5 million).

It helped that the film received solid ratings from critics (87% on Rotten Tomatoes) and an A-minus from opening weekend viewers polled by Cinema Score. (The first two movies received a stronger A grade from Cinema Score polls.)

Demographically, the film drew a blend of Black (36%), Hispanic (28%), white (23%) and Asian/other (13%) viewers.

This was the first “Creed” film which star Michael B. Jordan directed. It’s also the first in the “Rocky” series that did not feature Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa, though he is referenced in the movie.

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This strong performance virtually guarantees a fourth “Creed” film down the road. And Jordan, in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, talked about video games, spin-offs and other ways to expand the “Creedverse,” as he calls it, beyond just the films.

“Creed III,” based on opening weekend grosses, is projected to finish at around $150 million domestically, far exceeding the take of “Creed” ($109.8 million) and “Creed II” ($115.7 million) and is an encouraging sign for struggling movie theater companies who are still awaiting a full return of the pre-COVID-19 audiences.