Black Panther blows away competition at US box office over holiday weekend

Sony's Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle placed fourth in its ninth week in theaters, matching last week's earnings with $10 million.


                            Black Panther blows away competition at US  box office over holiday weekend

As the US kicked back for a long weekend, Disney's Black Panther got off to a superhero start in the North American box office, rocketing to the top spot with estimated earnings of $218 million, data showed Sunday.

According to figures from industry tracker Exhibitor Relations, the highly-anticipated 18th entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe earned $192 million over Friday, Saturday and Sunday -- exceeding predictions of $170 million.

Thanks to Presidents' Day in the US on Monday, Black Panther's estimated earnings were boosted to a stratospheric $218 million -- crushing Deadpool's 2016 Presidents' Day record of $152.1 million.

The film, from Disney-owned Marvel Studios, features a star-studded, almost entirely black cast led by Chadwick Boseman as the first non-white superhero to get his own stand-alone movie in the franchise.

Starring alongside Michael B Jordan and Lupita Nyong'o, Boseman plays the titular superhero also known as T'Challa, king and protector of the technologically advanced fictional African nation of Wakanda, an affluent, never-colonized utopia.

In at second was family-friendly Peter Rabbit, based on Beatrix Potter's classic children's book. Mixing live actors with computer-generated animation, it brought in an estimated $22.1 million over the holiday weekend for total earnings of $53.1 million.

James Corden voices the lead bunny which feuds with garden owner Domhnall Gleeson for the affections of sweet-hearted neighbor Rose Byrne.

Dropping to third was last week's box office champion, Universal's Fifty Shades Freed, with takings of $19 million, down from $38.6 million the previous week.

Starring Dakota Johnson as English lit major-turned-publisher Anastasia Steele and Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey, her kinky lover-turned-husband, Freed is the last of the Fifty Shades trilogy, which has enjoyed massive popularity among primarily female audiences.

Sony's Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle placed fourth in its ninth week in theaters, matching last week's earnings with $10 million.

Featuring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Kevin Hart and Jack Black, the family film tells the tale of a group of teens transported inside a video game world.

Director Clint Eastwood's The 15:17 dropped two places into fifth, taking $9 million.

The film recounts the story of three young Americans who foiled a terrorist attack on board a train in France in 2015. In an alternative approach that divided critics, Eastwood cast the three men -- none of whom had any acting experience -- to play themselves.  

Rounding out the top 10 were:

The Greatest Showman ($6.3 million)

Early Man ($4.2 million)

Maze Runner: The Death Cure ($3 million)

Winchester ($2.7 million)

"Samson ($2.4 million)