In its second weekend in US cinemas, “Wonder Woman 1984” earned an estimated $5.5 million in ticket sales, a 67 percent drop for the superhero sequel.

Actor Liam Neeson in a scene from his recent movie 'The Marksman'.
Actor Liam Neeson in a scene from his recent movie 'The Marksman'. (Rotten Tomatoes)

If time is a flat circle, then it's only fitting that a second Liam Neeson movie is ruling over the US box office during the pandemic. 

Months after his action thriller "Honest Thief" led domestic charts, another Neeson action thriller "The Marksman" has debut at No 1 with $3.2 million in ticket sales.

Robert Lorenz directed "The Marksman," about a rancher and retired Marine living in Arizona who helps a young boy escape a Mexican drug cartel. 

The film, which premiered in 1,975 locations, should rake in $3.7 million through the Martin Luther King holiday on Monday. 

Open Road, the distributor behind "The Marksman," also backed "Honest Thief." 

That film bowed to $3.7 million last October and ended its cinema run with $14 million in the US and $28 million globally.

"The Marksman" joins the company of "Honest Thief" and Robert De Niro's "The War With Grandpa" as some of the lowest-grossing box office toppers in modern history, highlighting the bleak reality that movie cinemas are facing amid the country's latest Covid-19 surge. 

Overall, around 65 percent of US cinemas are closed due to the pandemic.

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Pandemic effect

"Wonder Woman 1984" slide to second place after beating the competition for three straights weekends.

Warner Bros did not provide a three-day total but the studio projects the Gal Gadot-led superhero sequel will generate $2.6 million through the extended holiday weekend. However, "Wonder Woman 1984" could drop to third place behind "The Croods: A New Age" when Martin Luther King day sales are finalised on Monday.

“Wonder Woman 1984” has made $28.5 million to date from the US, where about 39 percent of cinema are open and most major markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and San Francisco, are closed. Internationally, it added $10.1 million, bringing its global total to $118.5 million.

While $5.5 million would be a terrible second weekend for a $200 million movie in a pre-pandemic world, under the unique circumstances it was enough to top the domestic charts.

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From cinemas to streaming services

In second place is Universal’s “The Croods: A New Age,” which saw a 25 percent increase in ticket sales in its sixth week in cinemas. It’s made $34.5 million since it opened at Thanksgiving and is also now available to rent on premium video on demand.

The animated family film actually improved upon last week's grosses by 13 percent, which is impressive considering it's currently available to watch on home entertainment. 

Last year, Universal forged an agreement with major cinema chains such as AMC and Cinemark to allow the studio to put new releases on-demand after 17 days on the big screen. In return, select exhibitors are getting an undisclosed cut of digital profits. After two months in cinemas, "The Croods: A New Age" has made $40 million at the domestic box office. Overseas, the movie added another $2.2 million from 17 countries for an international total of $94.7 million and a global tally of $134.8 million.

Disney and Pixar’s “Soul,” which skipped US cinemas and is available for free for Disney+ subscribers, added $16.5 million internationally, a 114 percent increase from its opening in the same markets last weekend.

The film featuring the voices of Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey has done particularly well in China, where it more than doubled its opening sum and added $13.7 million this weekend. The studio attributed the gains to strong social media reactions and word of mouth.

Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic “Alien” also opened this weekend through Disney’s 20th Century Studios. It made $75,000 from 505 locations.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies