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BOX OFFICE: SHAZAM! and PET SEMETARY Kick Off April with Moderate Openings

Welcome to the Beat’s Weekend Box Office Recap!
Three new movies opened in wide release over the first weekend of April. While two of them came into the weekend with stronger buzz than the third, none of the new movies did as well as I predicted last week, although only one of them could truly be considered a bomb.
Opening in first place as expected was Shazam!, the latest superhero from Warner Bros. (in this case the New Line division) and DC Entertainment, which introduced to movie screens the hero created by CC Beck that has had an on-and-off-again history in comic books.
Starring Asher Angel, Zachary Levi and Mark Strong,  Shazam! already came into the weekend with $3.2 million from an early sneak preview of the movie by Fandango on March 23, but it added another $20.5 million on Friday (including $5.9 million in Thursday previews). Ultimately, it ended up with an estimated $53.4 million over the weekend in 4,217 theaters or $12,675 per theater.  That was slightly more than the opening of Green Lantern in 2011 and Superman Returns in 4,065, but substantially less than the openings for Wonder Woman, last year’s Aquaman and other recent DC movies, even 2017’s Justice League. With those Fandango previews, Shazam! has grossed $56.8 million domestically.
Fortunately, the movie received solid reviews and a solid “A” CinemaScore, which is not only on par with Wonder Woman but also all three of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight series, so we should be seeing Shazam! continue to bring in audiences at least through the release of Avengers: Endgame in three weeks. Also, director David F. Sandberg (Annabelle: Creation) kept the budget relatively low at $100 million.
Overseas, Shazam! grossed another $102 million in 79 markets, including $30.9 million in China, and it was #1 in sixty of those markets, including Mexico and the UK.
Paramount tried to steal some of Shazam!‘s thunder with its remake of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary, which opened in 3,585 theaters on Friday. After making $2.3 million in Thursday previews, the horror film directed by Kevin Kölsch amd Dennis Widmyer (Starry Eyes) brought in $10 million on Friday and then an estimated $25 million for its opening weekend. That’s about on par with early projections but far below the last Stephen King adaptation of It in 2017. Then again, the movie only cost $20 million to make, so it’s still likely to be profitable.
Disney’s Dumbo dropped to third place with $18.2 million, down a whopping 60% from its opening weekend. With $76.3 million grossed in ten days, it will have a hard time making it back its $170 million budget, at least domestically, although it also has made another $137.5 million made overseas.
It’s hard to believe, but after three weekends, Jordan Peele’s Us is already the third highest-grossing movie of 2019 domestically with $152.4 million. It only needs a few million to surpass How to Train Your Dragon to become the second-highest grosser. This weekend, it made $13.8 million to take fourth place with a substantial third weekend drop of 58%.
Marvel Studios’ blockbuster Captain Marvel edges closer to that $400 million domestic mark with another $12.7 million (down 39%), which puts it at $374 million in North America. Last week, Captain Marvel crossed the billion-dollar benchmark worldwide, the seventh MCU movie to achieve that amount.
STXfilms’ historic drama Best of Enemies, starring Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell, failed to connect with audiences, opening in sixth place with an estimated $4.5 million in 1,705 theaters, a weak $2,639 per theater. The movie reportedly cost $10 million to make, so it doesn’t have a long way to be profitable, plus it also scored an “A” CinemaScore from exit polls.
The top 10 was rounded out by Five Feet Apart, UnplannedWonder Park and How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.
A24 opened Claire Denis’ English-language debut High Life, starring Robert Pattinson, in four theaters in New York and L.A., where it delivered a solid $100,000 or about $25,000 per theater.
Emilio Estevez’s star-studded drama The Public was released into 265 theaters by Greenwich Films, but its $279,000 opening weekend ends up being less than a grand per theater despite the solid cast. That still allowed to barely make it into the top 20 at #18.
Mike Leigh’s Peterloo was opened in three theaters in New York and L.A. by Amazon Studios for an opening of $30,000.

This Week’s Top 10:

Rank Last Week Rank Movie Studio Weekend Gross % Change Total Gross
1 New Shazam! New Line /WB $53.4 million N/A $56.8 million
2 New Pet Sematary Paramount $25 million N/A $25 million
3 1 Dumbo Disney $18.2 million -60% $76.3 million
4 2 Us Universal $13.8 million -58% $152.4 million
5 3 Captain Marvel Marvel/DC $12.7 million -39% $374.1 million
6 New The Best of Enemies Paramount $4.5 million N/A $4.5 million
7 4 Five Feet Apart CBS Films $3.7 million -40% $153 million
8 5 Unplanned Pure Flix $3.2 million -50% $3.3 million
9 6 Wonder Park Paramount $2 million -39% $42 million
10 7 How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World DreamWorks $2 million -55% $156.7 million

This weekend’s Top 10 was basically on par with last year’s April opener when John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place opened at #1 with $50 million, and the Universal comedy Blockers also opened decently with $20.5 million in third place. Entertainment Studios opened the biopic Chappaquiddick, starring Pet Sematary‘s Jason Clarke as Ted Kennedy, in 1,560 theaters where it grossed $5.8 million for seventh place.
Check back on Wednesday for The Beat’s Box Office Preview which will look at  Lionsgate’s new Hellboy movie, as well as Regina Hall and Issa Rae in the comedy Little and more.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Can’t wait for High Life to come to my local art house. Since it’s in English, it may get a wider release. Fingers crossed.

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