Morning Chronicle - 'Death on the Nile' cruises to N.America box office lead

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'Death on the Nile' cruises to N.America box office lead
'Death on the Nile' cruises to N.America box office lead

'Death on the Nile' cruises to N.America box office lead

"Death on the Nile" cruised to the top of the North American box office in its opening weekend, showing the continuing lure of a good old-fashioned Agatha Christie murder mystery, according to industry data Sunday.

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The movie from 20th Century -- the third based on Christie's 1937 novel of the same name -- took in an estimated $12.8 million for the Friday-to-Sunday period, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported.

"This is a fair opening, with a couple of asterisks," said David A. Gross of Franchise Entertainment Research. The asterisks: Sunday's widely watched football Super Bowl always depresses filmgoing, and coronavirus-hit Hollywood is still battling its way back from the Omicron surge.

"Death on the Nile" stars and was directed by Kenneth Branagh as perspicacious Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, a role he also played in his "Murder on the Orient Express."

Branagh is having a good year: His "Belfast" garnered best-film and best-director Oscar nominations.

The success of "Death" left last weekend's box office leader, "Jackass Forever," slipping to second place, at $8.1 million. Paramount's irreverent comedy features spoofs, gross-outs and painful stunts dreamed up by Johnny Knoxville and his merry pranksters.

In third spot, opening strategically before Valentine's Day on Monday, was Universal's rom-com "Marry Me," at $8 million.

It stars Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson as two strangers -- she a superstar, he a nerdy divorced math teacher -- who spontaneously agree to marry each other and then... (fill in appropriate Hollywood ending).

Sony blockbuster "Spider-Man: No Way Home" took fourth spot, at $7.2 million. The Sony/Marvel film has been in the top five domestically since its release nine weeks ago; its international take has now passed $1 billion.

And in fifth spot was another new release, "Blacklight" from Focus Features. The quirky Liam Neeson crime thriller, which has suffered poor reviews, took in $3.6 million.

Rounding out the top 10 were:

"Sing 2" ($3 million)

"Moonfall" ($2.9 million)

"Scream" ($2.8 million)

"Licorice Pizza" ($923,000)

"The King's Man" ($433,000)