Tom Holland's Uncharted tops box office charts with US$44 million debut
The big-budget video game adaptation is seen as a test of the Spider-Man actor's blockbuster bankability outside of his success in the Marvel movies.
Sony's long-in-the-works video game adaptation Uncharted collected US$44 million (S$59.2 million) over the weekend, enough to lead US domestic box office charts and solidify Tom Holland's star power.
The big-budget action adventure has been positioned as a key test of Holland's bankability outside of his blockbuster success as Spider-Man. Uncharted has received mixed reviews, at best, so it's safe to assume the 25-year-old British actor had a healthy hand in selling tickets. It also helps that Uncharted is rated PG-13 and based on one of the most popular video games.
Directed by Ruben Fleischer, who previously led Tom Hardy's comic book tentpole Venom to box office glory, Uncharted is expected to earn US$52 million through Monday's (Feb 21) President's Day holiday. It's an impressive start in COVID times, but it doesn't mean the film has an easy path to profitability. Uncharted carries a US$120 million price tag, so international ticket sales will be key in getting out of the red.
To that end, Uncharted crucially landed a release date in China, the world's biggest theatrical market. Visual effects-heavy action-adventures, like Uncharted, tend to play well in China. But recently the country's censors have been ultra-selective about letting Hollywood movies screen in its movie theatres, and when the Chinese government does approve non-local product, it's been a real mixed bag at the box office. So the film's success in China remains to be seen. Since Uncharted isn't opening in China until Mar 14, piracy could be a concern.
Outside of China, Uncharted has been a favorite. Already, the movie has earned roughly US$55 million at the international box office and has crossed US$100 million globally.
"This is an excellent opening," says David A Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. "Action adventures based on video games are big movies, and this weekend's figure is nearly double the average for the genre. He adds, "Budgets run high, so Uncharted needs to connect in every market. So far, it is doing that."
Uncharted follows the globe-trotting treasure hunter Nathan Drake and his wisecracking partner Sully (Mark Wahlberg, who was once attached to play Nathan Drake and since aged out of the role) as they embark on a death-defying quest to uncover the greatest treasure never found. Complicating matters, the fearless explorers are racing against two baddies (played by Antonio Banderas and Tati Gabrielle) to locate the fabled fortunes. Audiences have awarded the film a B+ on CinemaScore.
Uncharted ruled over box office charts, but it wasn't the only new nationwide release to beat expectations. Channing Tatum's PG-13 canine adventure Dog landed in second place with US$15.1 million, a great start for a film that's not based on comic book characters or an existing film franchise.