Steven Spielberg's pop culture extravaganza, Ready Player One, is on course to take the top spot at the domestic weekend box office, with around $53 million from 4,234 theaters, reports Variety. Opening in 62 international markets, the movie has taken in around $42 million while also becoming the third-highest opening for a Warner Brothers project in China, with $14 million (60% of the box-office share). At the current time, Ready Player One's international haul stands at $69.8 million on Box Office Mojo.
Releasing the film (based on Ernest Cline's 2011 novel) on the Friday before Easter was a stroke of marketing brilliance, as the plot revolves around a master Easter egg hunt within a vast virtual world known as the OASIS. Tye Sheridan (X-Men: Apocalypse) stars as Wade Watts, a kid from Columbus, Ohio -- circa 2045 -- who leads the scavenger hunt so as to keep the ultimate prize (complete control of the OASIS) away from the hands of IOI (Innovative Online Industries) and its ruthless CEO, Nolan Sorrento (Rogue One's Ben Mendelsohn).
Black Panther has regained some of its former glory by taking third place at the box office, with an estimated $11 million to round out the weekend. Having surpassed the first Avengers in terms of domestic ticket sales last week, the 18th Marvel Cinematic Universe installment has amassed over $1.2 billion worldwide and is the fifth-highest domestic-grossing film of all time, but it will probably overtake Jurassic World by weekend's end, thus nabbing the fourth spot on that list.
In fifth place is Pacific Rim Uprising, which briefly held the top box-office spot last week over Black Panther. Now it's behind Lionsgate's Christian-themed I Can Only Imagine. As the old saying goes, the bigger they are, the harder they fall, and Uprising's massive robots and kaiju have fallen to a mere $9 million at 3,708 theaters, a 67% drop in opening returns. Like the first movie, however, it is doing well overseas, where box-office sales have brought the film's worldwide total to $160 million.