Wreck-It Ralph was the undisputed box office champ over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, but on the live-action side of things, Adonis Creed beat back wizards and archers to have his hand raised. Creed II's success was also historic for this over 40-year-old franchise, as Steven Caple Jr.'s sequel film KO'd all of the other Rocky movies at the box office on opening weekend.
Creed II punched out $35.293 million at the box office over the Friday to Sunday frame, giving it the biggest debut ever for a sports drama, according to Forbes. That also means that it is the biggest debut ever for a boxing drama. Therefore Creed II's opening weekend now reigns supreme over all seven of the previous films in the long-running Rocky franchise.
Ryan Coogler's Creed from 2015 was the previous opening weekend record holder for the series with $29.63 million, followed by 1985's Rocky IV, which debuted with $19.99 million (unadjusted for inflation).
Creed II's $35.293 million was also good enough to be the biggest debut ever for a live-action film opening over Thanksgiving, not counting for inflation. Disney usually dominates the family-centric Thanksgiving, as it did this year with Ralph Breaks the Internet, but Creed II's three and five-day numbers were still the biggest ever for a non-Disney release over the holiday.
Creed II technically opened on Wednesday, before the Thanksgiving holiday, with Tuesday night preview screenings. So over the long weekend, Creed II collected $55.806 million, easily covering its budget, which was somewhere around $40 million.
The film was more front-loaded too than its predecessor, which makes sense considering that the first Creed was something of an unknown when it came out. But it received great reviews and audiences caught up with the story, so they knew what they were getting with Creed II and were excited about it seeing it opening weekend, leading to the sequel's superior performance.
Creed II's box office gives it the best opening for a Rocky movie ever, so now it's just a question of whether it will have the legs to become the biggest movie in the franchise domestically. Currently Rocky IV, which Creed II is something of a sequel to, is the highest grossing Rocky movie domestically with $127 million. The first Creed topped out at $110 million but if Creed II enjoys similar staying power, it could deliver a knock out punch to Rocky IV.
Creed II does have the nostalgia and fan service factor going for it, and the rest of the year is filled with either big franchises or small awards fare, so the film should stand out to audiences as something different to see. Even if Creed II doesn't beat Rocky IV, it could still best Creed at the domestic box office, an uncommon feat for a sequel which shows how viable this franchise is, especially considering its mid-budget cost.
Creed II is now playing in theaters. Check out the other movies still to come this holiday in our Holiday Movie Guide.
Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.
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