Creed III Delivers A Knockout Uppercut To Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania At The Weekend Box Office

Michael B Jordan as Adonis Creed in Creed III
(Image credit: MGM)

The week of release for a directorial debut can be a terrifying time for a filmmaker... but Michael B. Jordan has reason only to smile this Sunday morning. After a week of earning terrific pre-release reviews, Jordan's new movie Creed III has landed at the box office as an instant smash hit. It has managed to not only set records within the Creed series, but also within the Rocky franchise as a whole and the genre of sports movies.  

Check out the full Top 10 breakdown below, and join me after for analysis.

Creed III Weekend Box Office March 3-5, 2023

(Image credit: MGM)
Swipe to scroll horizontally
1. Creed III*$58,658,000 $58,658,000 N/A4,007
2. Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania$12,471,000 $186,798,829 13,825
3. Cocaine Bear$11,020,000 $41,288,320 23,571
4. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba -To The Swordsmith Village*$10,117,806 $10,117,806 N/A1,774
5. Jesus Revolution$8,650,000 $30,541,391 32,575
6. Avatar: The Way Of Water$3,578,000 $670,632,256 42,300
7. Operation Fortune: Ruse De guerre*$3,160,000 $3,160,000 N/A2,168
8. Puss In Boots: The Last Wish$2,720,000 $177,127,795 52,588
9. Magic Mike’s Last Dance$1,180,000 $25,363,254 61,737
10. 80 For Brady$845,000 $38,318,000 71,495

Creed III Is A Huge Win At The Box Office To Kick Off An Exciting March At The Movies

Looking at the release schedule, movie-goers have a lot to be excited about this month. All of the weekends in March are seeing the release of a highly anticipated feature, including Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett's Scream VI, David F. Sandberg's Shazam: Fury Of The Gods, Chad Stahelski's John Wick: Chapter 4, and John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein's Dungeons And Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. Needless to say, box office expectations are high – and things are off to a terrific start with Creed III.

Both Ryan Coogler's Creed and Steven Caple Jr.'s Creed II performed well in their respective opening weekends, but their numbers honestly pale in comparison to the new sequel. Demonstrating an upward trend, the first movie made $29.6 million, the second brought in $35.6 million, and in the last three days, Creed III nearly made as much as both combined. Creed and Creed II made $109.8 million and $115.7 million by the end of their theatrical runs in the U.S. and Canada, and Creed III is well on its way to setting a new high water mark for the series.

Making $58.7 million in a debut Friday-to-Sunday is a big deal for a sports movie. If we exclude the Fast & Furious movies (which have moved pretty far away from having street racing as a focus), the biggest opening for a live-action title in the genre prior to this weekend was Peter Segal's remake of The Longest Yard starring Adam Sandler (in 2005, it made $47.6 million, per The Numbers). MGM invested heavily in Creed III, which was made with a $75 million budget (according to Deadline), and that investment is paying off.

Jonathan Majors as Dame in Creed III

(Image credit: MGM)

The film is performing as a winner all around. Not only are critics loving Creed III, with its Rotten Tomatoes page sporting an 87% Fresh rating, but general movie-goers are having a blast as well. Surveys from CinemaScore have returned an "A-" grade. Michael B. Jordan has earned tremendous praise for his directorial debut, and Jonathan Majors has once again received near universal acclaim for his performance as a principal antagonist. 

Popular as Creed III is proving to be, it will be fascinating to see what kind of legs it demonstrates in the coming weeks. Word of mouth is only going to do it favors, but, as mentioned, there is a lot of big competition set to arrive on the big screen in the next four consecutive Fridays. New releases will certainly steal swaths of the film's target demographics, but I still foresee it sticking around in the Top 5 through the rest of March.

How will this ultimately impact the future of the Creed/Rocky franchise? Without getting into spoilers, the end of Creed III doesn't provide an obvious next story for a sequel unless the series wanted to take a decade-long hiatus (at least). But that being said, these kind of box office numbers have a way of influencing things in Hollywood, so it will be interesting to see how MGM and Michael B. Jordan decide to proceed.

What's Good For Creed III Is Not Good For Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania

As alluded to earlier, Creed III is the second major movie in recent weeks to feature Jonathan Majors in a critically acclaimed villain role, as mid-February saw the release of Peyton Reed's Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania – and it appears success of the former is hurting the latter. Staying on the subject of stealing an audience, Marvel Studios' latest blockbuster is definitely not the hottest title playing on the big screen anymore, and that's evidenced by another huge weekend-to-weekend drop for the Paul Rudd/Evangeline Lilly film. 

Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania successfully held on to its box office crown last weekend going toe-to-toe with Elizabeth Banks' Cocaine Bear, but it notably lost a record-setting percentage of its audience: its ticket sales dropped 70 percent in its sophomore weekend, which no Marvel film had ever done before. Thanks to the release of a hyped new franchise title hitting theaters this past Friday, the blockbuster's third weekend on the big screen didn't go much better. 

While Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is still bringing in eight figures, the numbers are down yet another 61 percent. It's definitely not all bad news, as the film has still made $419.5 million globally and domestically it has already earned more money total ($186.8 million) than Peyton Reed's first Ant-Man ($180.2 million), but it's not turning out to be a fireworks-worthy box office performance to kick off Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

As noted, this upcoming Friday will be seeing yet another big title make a splash, as Ghostface will be doing his best to carve up New York City in Scream VI. How will it perform at the box office, and what will its numbers to do Creed III, Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania, and Cocaine Bear? Head back here to CinemaBlend next Sunday to find out.

To get a look ahead at everything that is coming to both theaters and streaming in the weeks and months ahead, check out our 2023 Movie Release Calendar.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.