‘Shazam!’ Has a Super Start

The month of April got off to a solid start at the North America box office this weekend as Warner’s Shazam! and Paramount’s Pet Sematary both exceeded box office expectations.

While the 2019 box office continues to lag behind last year’s record numbers by approximately 16%, the gap continues to shrink thanks to recent openings of Captain Marvel, Us, Dumbo andShazam!. The April 26tharrival of Avengers: Endgame can only help push business even further in the right direction.

Until Marvel’s Mightiest Heroes arrive, we have the original Captain Marvel to keep multiplexes busy. Arriving this weekend on 4,217 theaters, Warner/New Line’s Shazam! scored a heroic $53.5 million. With an additional $3.3 million added from early screenings held two weeks ago by Fandango, the overall start for the latest DC Comics superhero flick is $56.8 million.

The $80 million action comedy starring Zachary Levi and Mark Strong struck a cord with both critics and the public, which should help power the film throughout the rest of April. The David F. Sandberg film earned a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, a 71/100 on Metacritic and a solid “A” from CinemaScore.

Internationally, Shazam! scored a big $102 million this weekend. China led the way with $30.9 million, followed by Mexico ($6 million), the United Kingdom, Russia and Brazil each with $5 million.

In second place with a scary $25 million from 3,585 screens was Paramount’s remake of its 1989 horror hit Pet Sematary. Directed by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer, the new take on the classic 1983 Stephen King novel opened right in line with box office expectations. The 1989 original opened with $12 million, which would translate into a $27 million start today.

Critical notices were mostly on the mixed side for the new $21 million production. They were, however, better than the ones bestowed upon the version directed by Mary Lambert (50% Rotten Tomatoes and a 38/100 on Metacritic). The new Sematary scared up a middling 61% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 58/100 on Metacritic. Ticket buyers gave the new Sematary a “C+” on CinemaScore, which was lower than the “B” viewers gave the 1989 version.

Last week’s champ Dumbo took a 60% swan dive in its second weekend on 4,259 screens where it took an estimated $18.5 million. The ten-day total for Disney’s little elephant is an underwhelming $76.5 million. Depending on how the film holds over the next few weeks, Dumbo may be looking at a North America final total of $110 million. Overseas, Dumbo has pocketed $137 million to date.

Pet Sematary‘s arrival appears to have impacted Universal’s Us in its third weekend as the acclaimed horror film dropped a steep 58.4% to earn $13.8 million from 3,512 screens. With $152.3 million in the bank so far, Us is now looking to wind down with $185-190 million. The Jordan Peele film has also brought in $64.2 million overseas.

The arrival of Shazam! didn’t seem to hurt Disney’s Captain Marvel all that much in its fifth weekend. The Marvel Studios smash decreased a moderate 38% this round to collect an estimated $12.7 million from 3,573 screens. Marvel’s new domestic total stands tall at $374 million. Internationally, Captain Marvel has earned $663.5 million. The overall global gross is $1.037 billion so far.

  1. The Best of Enemies (STX) $4.5 million
  2. Five Feet Apart (Lionsgate) $3.7 million (-40%); $42 million
  3. Unplanned (PureFlix) $3.2 million (-50%); $13 million
  4. Wonder Park (Paramount) $2.04 million (-55%); $42 million
  5. How To Train Your Dragon 3 (Universal) $2 million (-53%); $157 million

Next weekend sees the arrival of the R-rated reboot of Hellboy from Lionsgate and Univesal’s comedy Little.

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