Black Panther unseated by a monster
Sci-fi flick Pacific Rim Uprising takes in $33 million at US box office
Raking in over US$1.2 billion (S$1.58 billion) in global earnings and holding court at the top of the North American box office for five weeks straight, Marvel's superhero movie Black Panther has enjoyed a historic run.
But it was finally dethroned by a fresh upstart - Pacific Rim Uprising, which opened here and in the US last week.
Variety reported that director Steven S. DeKnight's US$150 million follow-up to Guillermo del Toro's 2013 sci-fi monster flick Pacific Rim took in US$25 million (S$33 million) in the US box office over the weekend to take the number one spot from the Marvel blockbuster.
John Boyega, who plays the sequel's male lead, said that the movie's success is a victory for diversity.
Having non-white actors in leading roles in major movies is great, the English actor of Nigerian descent said in a phone interview with The New Paper from Los Angeles.
"It is definitely a win, culturally. Film needs to be a reflection of the world that we live in, and we live in a global world - the script has to reflect it," Boyega, 26, added.
Pacific Rim Uprising has a roster of actors from Japan, China, Hong Kong and Puerto Rico.
Set 10 years after the Battle of the Breach, it centres on rebellious Jake Pentecost (Boyega), a once-promising Jaeger pilot whose legendary father, General Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba), died to secure humanity's victory over the enormous Kaiju monsters.
Caught trying to steal, Jake is given a choice.
He can lead a new generation of pilots of the giant Jaeger military mechanoids against an even more monstrous threat, or face punishment for his crime.
Boyega said the decision to be one of the film's producers - alongside del Toro - was unplanned.
He said: "I had founded my own production company, and early on we were looking for a project to work on. Although we did not expect such a big production, it just worked out."
Best known for his breakout role as Finn in the new Star Wars film trilogy, he is looking forward to future iterations of the Pacific Rim series and is contracted to continue his role on the production team.
In Pacific Rim Uprising, to control a Jaeger, two co-pilots have to be perfectly synced in a mental link, requiring the characters to work closely.
When asked which Star Wars co-star he would want to pair up with, Boyega chose US actor Oscar Isaac - who plays Finn's onscreen BFF, Resistance X-wing fighter pilot Poe Dameron - without hesitation.
"We go around so much I won't mind him being in my head. There is nothing there that will shock him any more," he said.
Having piloted his fair share of super-machines in both movies, Boyega is a pro in the green-screen, pre-special effects "cockpit".
He said: "It is all about imagination. As a kid, we play and use imagination. In acting, I just activate that. I really enjoy doing it."
The end results on the big screen still surprised and impressed him, he said, adding: "Especially for this film, I was shocked when I watched it."