LOS ANGELES — Diversity sells movie tickets. (Duh.)
The three most popular films at the North American box office over the weekend featured largely nonwhite casts, as “How to Be a Latin Lover” and an import from India, “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion,” joined “The Fate of the Furious” on theater marquees. Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst at comScore, called the offerings “an uncommon blend of welcome diversity.”
“The Fate of the Furious” (Universal), directed by F. Gary Gray and starring the likes of Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne Johnson and Ludacris, was No. 1 for a third consecutive weekend, taking in an estimated $19.4 million, for a new domestic total of $192.7 million and a worldwide one of $1.06 billion.
“How to Be a Latin Lover” (Pantelion-Lionsgate), which cost about $10 million to make, was second. It sold about $12 million in tickets, or roughly 50 percent more than analysts had expected before its release. Starring Eugenio Derbez and Salma Hayek, “Latin Lover” drew an audience that was 89 percent Hispanic, Lionsgate said.
Despite only playing in 420 locations — to compare, “How to Be a Latin Lover” was booked into 1,118 theaters — “Baahubali 2” took in an estimated $10.1 million. IMAX theaters had an especially strong turnout, especially at locations in areas with large Indian populations like New Jersey and Michigan; the film, directed by S. S. Rajamouli and starring Prabhas, is a Telugu-language fantasy epic.