‘Death on the Nile’ vs. ‘Marry Me’: Murder tops romance at Valentine’s Day box office

The murder mystery “Death on the Nile” from 20th Century Studios slayed its competition at the Valentine’s Day box office, grossing $12.8 million in its opening weekend, according to estimates from measurement firm Comscore.

Landing in second and third place, respectively, were Paramount Pictures’ prankster romp “Jackass Forever,” which added $8.1 million in its second weekend for a North American cumulative of $37.4 million; and Universal Pictures’ romantic comedy “Marry Me,” which launched at $8 million.

Still going strong at No. 4 was Marvel and Sony Pictures’ “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which swung $7.2 million in its ninth weekend for a North American cumulative of $759 million. And rounding out the top five was Briarcliff Entertainment’s action thriller “Blacklight,” which debuted at $3.6 million.

Director Kenneth Branagh’s sequel to 2017’s “Murder on the Orient Express” met the low end of its expectations, which ranged from $11 million to $17 million, while the Kat Coiro-directed “Marry Me” opened as projected.

Based on the Agatha Christie novel of the same name, “Death on the Nile” sees Branagh reprise his role as Det. Hercule Poirot, back to investigate a killing aboard cruise ship full of suspects played by Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Annette Bening and more.

The star-studded crime drama received a lukewarm 66% positive rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes and a weak B-grade from audiences polled by CinemaScore. So far, “Death on the Nile” is about half as successful as its predecessor, “Murder on the Orient Express,” which launched at $28.2 million in November 2017.

Headlined by pop superstar Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson, “Marry Me” posted a subpar 59% on Rotten Tomatoes and a middling B-plus on CinemaScore. The love story, which premiered simultaneously on Peacock, marks Lopez’s first big-screen outing since her acclaimed turn as a veteran stripper in 2019’s “Hustlers.”

Opening in wide release next weekend are Sony Pictures’ video-game adventure “Uncharted,” starring Tom Holland, and United Artists Releasing’s military comedy “Dog,” starring Channing Tatum.

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