‘Shazam!’ ka-blammed the box office this weekend with a super $53.45M opening. Looks like ‘Captain Marvel’ isn’t the only superhero who can fly higher, further, faster, as ‘Shazam!’ was expected to open between $45M-$50M. Audiences loved it, giving it an A CinemaScore, equal to those of ‘Ant-Man’ and ‘Wonder Woman’. Overall PostTrak audiences gave it 4 stars, but parents with kids under 12 gave it 4½. Critics are equally enchanted by the magic of ‘Shazam!’, with it resting at 91% on Rotten Tomatoes (although that is slightly lower than it was just days ago).
Word of mouth certainly helped, as ‘Shazam!’ was screened a few weeks early for users of Fandango. That can be a risky move– what if it sucks?– but studios sometimes know they have a winner on their hands, even if general audiences might be hesitant. The ‘Shazam!’ pre-screenings amounted for $3.3M, the highest yet for such a preview (which is a pretty new concept). That nudges ‘Shazam!’s domestic haul to $56.7M.
‘Shazam!’ generated $102M overseas, bringing its global gross to $158.6M. It failed to take the #1 spot in Italy and Spain, where ‘Dumbo’ held strong, but perhaps more damaging, it underperformed in China, where homegrown action flick ‘P Storm’ ruled. ‘Shazam!’ failed in China for the same reason that it soared in the US– its sense of humor. American humor doesn’t always translate to other cultures, and that seems to be the case with ‘Shazam!’.
Moving on to #2, what a difference a couple of days make! ‘Pet Sematary’ wowed at SXSW and was sitting at a great 88% on Rotten Tomatoes… and then it came out. Its score has since dwindled to 62%, and exiting audience members that were polled have slapped it with a weak C+ CinemaScore, and 2½ stars via PostTrak.
Making $25M on its opening weekend, ‘Pet Sematary’ is hardly a flop, but considering that its production budget was a reported $20M, and word of mouth is likely to be minimal, this will come in way under what it was expected to just last week. It’s opening is on par with numerous recent horror films (not counting ‘Us’), but all of them cost much less to produce– in the single-digit millions. ‘Pet Sematary’ wasn’t expected to come anywhere close to the opening of previous Stephen King adaptation ‘It: Chapter One’ (˜$124M), but at least it did better than ‘The Dark Tower’ ($19.1M).
Looks as though word of mouth has grounded ‘Dumbo’. After only a tepid opening, the film plunged an astounding 60% in its sophomore weekend, making only $18.2M. If it’s any consolation, as stated, it retained the #1 spot in Italy and Spain.
As mentioned last week, ‘Dumbo’ just looked like a bummer from the start, and with the original animated movie being released in 1941, it’s just too old and obscure a property to resonate with younger viewers.
- Shazam! (New Line/Warner Brothers) – $53.45M
- Pet Sematary (Paramount) – $25
- Dumbo (Disney) – $18.2M
- Us (Universal) – $14.5M
- Captain Marvel (Disney) – $12.8M
STX’s Civil Rights drama ‘Best of Enemies’ ranked at #6, earning $4.5M, and receiving an A CinemaScore (A+ from women over 35). But poor reviews (51% on RT) sank this one. Even with the great audience reaction, this picture will NOT follow in the footsteps of ‘Green Book’ and ‘BlacKkKlansman’ come awards season.
Next week, can another beefy red comic book character take down ‘Shazam!’? Lionsgate hopes so as ‘Hellboy’ stomps into theaters. But its R-rating will make it impossible to draw away the same family crowd that is boosting ‘Shazam!’s performance.
One potential threat to that family audience is Laika’s animated ‘Missing Link’. At the very least, that could draw parents of kids too small for the PG-13 ‘Shazam!’.
Another pick that might make some waves is the comedy ‘Little’, starring popular kid TV star Marsai Martin (‘black-ish’), plus Regina Hall and Issa Rae. The film is incidentally, like ‘Shazam!’ a twist on the ’80s classic ‘Big’. In this case, the protagonist is an African American female, who becomes young instead of being a kid that turns into an adult.
Check back to see how things pan out!