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Sunday AM Update: By the calendar’s measure of recent box office years, it is the first weekend of summer. But because movie theaters are still closed in most of Europe and Brazil because of the pandemic, Disney decided to move Marvel’s Black Widow to July 9.

The good news is that we will finally have a semblance of a summer box office season, unlike last year, and United Artists Releasing is filling the vacancy left by Disney this weekend with the Miramax/MGM production of Guy Ritchie’s R-rated Jason Statham action title, Wrath of Man, which had a solid Friday at the B.O. during the pandemic with $3M (including $500K Thursday previews), then continued on to make the same amount of cash yesterday, and will see a 3-day opening of $8M at 2,875 theaters.

That’s a bit more than what Universal’s gritty R-rated Bob Odenkirk shoot-’em up Nobody scored over its first weekend, with $2.5M Friday and a 3-day of $6.8M (that movie, now in its 7th weekend, is bound to see its domestic cume at $24.6M by today off an A- CinemaScore).

All-in, Wrath of Man opened to $25.6M WW, $17.6M of that from 3,332 locations in nine territories, where eight of ’em ranked No. 1. Russia & CIS raked in $10M, exceeding the lifetime box office of Bad Boys for Life, John Wick 3, Man from UNCLE, and XXX: Return of Xander Cage. Australia and NZ took in $3.2M, Taiwan was $2.5M, while China counted $1M from limited previews which began yesterday before its May 10 launch.

Next to the meat-and-potato action movies aimed at older guys during the pandemic stateside since last August (we’re not counting videogame adaptation Mortal Kombat), Wrath of Man bests the debuts of Nobody, Unhinged ($4M), Honest Thief ($4.1M) and The Marksman ($3.1M).

Audience reaction for Wrath of Man was great, with Ritchie seeing an A-, which was better than the B+ earned by 2020’s The Gentleman, which repped a return to his kinetic, flashy action British capers. That movie, also a Miramax production, was released to 2,165 theaters by STX before Covid-19 hit in late January, and opened to $10.65M.

“This was a smart acquisition by MGM. Getting to work with Bill Block and Miramax was great. They were very supportive of the marketing and dating strategy. We took advantage of the Mother’s Day weekend as soon as Black Widow moved,” UAR President Erik Lomis told Deadline this morning.

“Gerry Rich and the marketing team created a super smart and innovative campaign, laser-focused and efficient, with a trailer launch only six weeks out. Guy Ritchie supported the plan and the marketing team every step of the way, and delivered a solid movie, very playable to his audience,” added Lomis.

UAR ran 60-second spots for Wrath of Man across such cable networks as ESPN, FX, FXX, Discovery, SciFi, NBA and digital channels YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Search. There was an early spot which ran during the Walking Dead finale to kick off the marketing campaign. Prime demos were targeted on such shows as 9-1-1, NCIS, FBI: Most Wanted, Blue Bloods, and Chicago PD, with spots also booked during those sports in-season, the NBA, MLB, UFC, Boxing, and NASCAR, as well as guy-targeted cable networks Adult Swim, Comedy, Discovery, ESPN, History, AMC, and FX.

The Wrath of Man trailer launch on March 29 received 22M views and over 48K conversations in its first day. It trended on Twitter and reddit movies, and on YouTube for over 24 hours after launch. The pic’s red band trailer was dropped on April 29 with IGN and Reddit. RelishMix further reports that the viral rate was a solid 9:1, with close to 38M views on YouTube, another 18.2M on Facebook for 27 videos with high posting frequency.

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