LOS ANGELES • The Jennifer Lawrence thriller, Red Sparrow, flew low at the North American box office over the weekend, collecting an estimated US$17 million (S$22.4 million) and becoming the third lacklustre opening in a row for one of Hollywood's most popular and highest-paid actresses.
Red Sparrow, starring Lawrence as a Russian intelligence operative who specialises in sexual manipulation, ran into stronger-than-expected competition from Black Panther (Disney), which remained a huge No. 1 hit in North America in its third weekend.
Black Panther collected about US$65.7 million for a new domestic total of US$501.1 million. Its worldwide ticket sales now stand at about US$900 million.
However, Red Sparrow, which cost Twentieth Century Fox at least US$100 million to make and market, divided critics and received a lukewarm B grade from ticket buyers in CinemaScore exit polls.
Red Sparrow had the hardest time attracting young adults. Seventy-nine per cent of its audience were over 25 years old, according to Fox.
Lawrence was last seen in Darren Aronofsky's Mother!, which failed in wide release. Before that, she co-starred with Chris Pratt in the expensive Passengers, which arrived to a wobbly $14.9 million in 2016.
The weekend's other new wide-release movie, Death Wish (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer), sold an estimated US$13 million in tickets, according to comScore, which compiles box-office data.
A remake of the 1974 movie of the same name, Death Wish, starring Bruce Willis, cost at least US$30 million to produce and received withering reviews.
The film, which celebrates a vigilante shooter, arrived in the wake of the school massacre in Parkland, Florida. Some people complained on social media that trailers advertising Death Wish continued to run in theatres.
In other box-office news, Hollywood's awards season came to a close on Sunday with mixed results.
Of the nine movies nominated for Best Picture at the 90th Academy Awards, seven were released during the last four months, Hollywood's traditional awards corridor.
Steven Spielberg's newspaper drama The Post (Twentieth Century Fox) did the best, with about US$80 million in North American ticket sales. Then came the eventual Best Picture winner, The Shape Of Water (Fox Searchlight), with US$57.4 million