A special Black Panther event at Apollo Theatre, New York City. (Source: Official Twitter handle @theblackpanther)

‘Black Panther’ Tops New Jennifer Lawrence, Bruce Willis Films

(Bloomberg) -- “Black Panther” is keeping its grip on the top spot at the box office for the third-straight week, beating new movies featuring Jennifer Lawrence and Bruce Willis.

The Marvel superhero film from Walt Disney Co., which has been breaking sales records, collected $65.7 million at cinemas in the U.S. and Canada, ComScore Inc. estimated Sunday in an email. It was the third-best third weekend for any movie ever. JLaw’s “Red Sparrow” and the remake “Death Wish” featuring Willis placed second and third.

The first blockbuster with a black superhero in the leading role, “Black Panther” has become a symbol for promoting diversity in the movie industry. Issues like inclusion and sexual harassment in the entertainment industry will also be in the spotlight Sunday night when the Academy Awards are handed out in Hollywood.

Box Office Mojo was forecasting $65 million in weekend sales for “Black Panther.” For 2018, the film leads all others with total revenue of $501.1 million, surpassing the half-billion-dollar mark two days faster than “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” Universal Pictures’ erotic series “Fifty Shades Freed” is in second-place this year with $95.6 million.

“Death Wish,” a remake from MGM, opened with weekend sales of $13 million. Willis stars as a man who becomes a vigilante after his family is attacked, re-creating the role originally played by Charles Bronson in 1974. BoxOfficePro was forecasting $19.5 million for the picture, which was mostly panned by top critics.

21st Century Fox’s “Red Sparrow” earned an estimated $17 million, missing the $19 million forecast of BoxOfficePro. Lawrence stars as a honey trap and spy targeting a CIA agent. Top critics were mostly negative, according to aggregator RottenTomatoes.com.

Globally, “Black Panther” generated sales of $121.9 million this weekend for a total $897.7 million to date, ComScore said.

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