Shazam! scores a win for DC at box office with $53.5 million opening
In addition to their crop of better-known superheroes, it seems DC now only need say the words “Shazam” to produce results at the box office.
The Zachary Levi-led superhero film easily strutted its way to the top of the box office this weekend, taking in an estimated $53.5 million across 4,217 cinemas. It’s not record-breaking on the scale of many comic book adaptations, but it’s a solid opening that suggests franchise potential for the property. Shazam! marks the seventh film in the DC Extended Universe and the second consecutive box office victory for DC after the success of Aquaman this winter.
Another new release, an update of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary scared up second place receipts with an estimated take of $25 million across 3,585 theaters, while Tim Burton’s Dumbo fell a dismaying 60 percent in its second weekend to a less-than-stellar $18.2 million across 4,259 theaters to land in the third place spot.
Shazam! is a win all-around for DC and New Line, taking in an estimated cumulative total of $56.8 once sneak preview sales are included. The film follows streetwise 14-year-old Billy Batson (Asher Angel), who gains the power to turn into the adult superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi) by simply shouting out “Shazam!” — a superhero origin story that comes courtesy of an ancient wizard. Mark Strong, Djimon Hounsou, Adam Brody, and Ron Cephas Jones also star in the David F. Sandberg directed movie.
Though DC films often do well at the box office, they frequently are not critically well-received, but Shazam! stands in contrast to that with some of the comic book studios best reviews ever (not to mention a solid A CinemaScore from audiences). The candy-colored kid-friendly movie is also doing well overseas, taking in an estimated $102 million for a global opening total of $156.8 million. It also marks a win for star Zachary Levi — it’s his highest ever debut, excepting Thor: The Dark World in which he plays a minor supporting role, suggesting that he now has some leading man bankable power behind him.
A remake of the 1989 film of the same name, both based on the novel by Stephen King, another new release Pet Sematary takes second place with $25 million. It’s the second-highest opening for a Stephen King adaptation behind the monster success of 2017’s It.
Jason Clarke stars as Dr. Louis Creed who relocates his family, including wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and two children), to rural Maine. Near their new home, he discovers a mysterious burial ground with disturbing properties. John Lithgow, Jete Laurence, Hugo Lavoie & Lucas Lavoie also star in the film, co-directed by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer.
The weekend’s other new release The Best of Enemies did not fare as well, taking in a soft estimated $4.5 million across 1,705 locations. Based on a true story, the film delves into the surprising relationship between outspoken civil rights activist Ann Atwater (Taraji P. Henson) and local KKK leader, C.P. Ellis (Sam Rockwell). It marks Rockwell’s first big-screen role since his Oscar-nominated performance as George W. Bush in last year’s Vice and comes just days before his new TV series, Fosse/Verdon premieres on FX, in which he stars as Bob Fosse.
Also starring Wes Bentley, Anne Heche, Nick Searcy, Bruce McGill, John Gallagher Jr., the film marks the writing and directing debut of The Hunger Games producer Robin Bissell. It earned a solid A CinemaScore but was less favorable with critics.
The 2019 box office’s biggest stars, Captain Marvel and Jordan Peele’s Us, round out the top five for the weekend. Horror film Us takes fourth place behind Dumbo in its third weekend, adding an estimated $13.8 million to its domestic total of $153.4 million. Combined with its international totals this weekend, the film has now crossed the $200 million mark worldwide.
Speaking of crossing box office milestones, Captain Marvel flew to new heights in its fifth weekend out, crossing the one billion dollar mark worldwide earlier this week. It became the seventh Marvel Cinematic Universe film to do so. Its estimated $12.7 million take this weekend places it squarely in fifth place in its fifth weekend in a nice bit of symmetry. The Marvel juggernaut is now at $1,037.6 million worldwide and counting.
Overall box office is down 16.1 percent year-to-date, according to Comscore. Check out the April 5-7 numbers below.
1. Shazam!— $53.5 million
2. Pet Sematary— $25 million
3. Dumbo— $18.2 million
4. Us— $13.8 million
5. Captain Marvel— $12.7 million
6. The Best of Enemies— $4.5 million
7. Five Feet Apart— $3.7 million
8. Unplanned— $3.2 million
9. Wonder Park— $2 million
10. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World— $2 million