‘Monkey Man’ Suffers Defeat at Box Office – But It Could Still Be a Winner

Monkey Man (Credit: Universal)

The battle at the box office between Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, Monkey Man, and The First Omen didn’t pack a lot of punch.

Warner Bros. monster mash-up Godzilla x Kong held onto the top spot after taking in an estimated $31 million, box office tracking company Comscore reported Sunday.

That brought the film’s two-week domestic total to $135 million.

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Dev Patel’s directorial debut Monkey Man opened in second place with $10.1 million from 3,029 locations.

Patel of Slumdog Millionaire and Lion fame directed, produced, co-wrote and leads the cast of the film. The actor plays “Kid,” a young man who was orphaned in India and now works in an underground fight club where he’s beaten bloody in MMA fights for cash.

Jordan Peele produced the film through his Monkeypaw Productions.

Monkey Man was originally intended for streaming, according to Variety. But Peele took the film to Universal Pictures, which acquired the title from Netflix for $10 million.

Heading into the weekend, the action thriller had been tracking in the $12 million range, but came in just below expectations.

Still, it will likely turn a profit — and turn out to be a winner — thanks to its moderate cost and strong reviews from critics. The thriller currently has an 87 percent score out of 100 on Rotten Tomatoes.

Critics described the film as “entertaining” and “thrilling.” Audiences mostly liked what they saw and gave it a “B+” CinemaScore. Monkey Man will roll out over the next few weeks in most of the world.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire took third place at the box office with $9 million in its third week in theaters. To date, the film has made $88.8 million domestically.

The First Omen opened in fourth place with $8.3 million.

The film stars Nell Tiger Free as a young American woman who is sent to Rome to begin a life of service to the church, but encounters a darkness that causes her to question her faith and uncovers a terrifying conspiracy.

The cast also includes Sonia Braga, Ralph Ineson, Bill Nighy, and Tawfeek Barhom.

Former Los Angeles Times photographer Arkasha Stevenson directed The First Omen from a script she wrote with Tim Smith and Keith Thomas.

The horror prequel received a “C” CinemaScore from audiences and has a 78 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film was initially intended for streaming on Hulu before securing a theatrical release. It had a reported production budget of $30 million and is expected to be profitable.

Rounding out the top five at the box office this week was Kung Fu Panda 4. It earned $7.8 million in its fifth week for a domestic total of $166 million.