The newest superhero on the block ‘Shazam!’ burst into cinemas this Box Office weekend, opening to a solid $53.5m to become the 9th biggest April opening of all time. On its tail was Paramount’s ‘Pet Sematary’, whose $24.5m made it a top 2 finish for the new entrants, and although STX’s ‘The Best of Enemies’ failed to complete the hattrick with just $4.4m, ‘Captain Marvel’ finally crossing the billion-dollar bracket is still cause for celebration.
How did the new releases get on?
It was a positive weekend for the new entrants, headed by the DCEU’s ‘Shazam!’. Although its $53.5m ($56.8m when including the advance screenings) ranks as the lowest in the franchise (after ‘Aquaman’s $67.9m), ‘Shazam!’ stands as the only movie out of the 7 whose sub-$100m leaves it room to breathe.
Mid-level budget superhero films have seen startling success recently, with ‘Logan’, ‘Deadpool’, and ‘Venom’ all opening to at least $80m and finishing on domestic totals far north of $200m. ‘Shazam!’ may not have seen that success in its opening weekend, but will take solace in the DCEU’s recent penchant for leggy runs.
In particular, ‘Aquaman’ (5x opening weekend multiplier) and ‘Wonder Woman’ (4x) leave the Zachary Levi-fronted WB pic in good company, with even a strong 3.5x multiplier – made possible by its A on Cinemascore – leaving ‘Shazam!’ earning close to $190m domestically.
Of course, the worry lies in ‘Endgame’s looming release at the end of the month, whose opening will surely halt ‘Shazam!’s progress, both stateside and overseas, with a domestic finish closer to $165m the more likely.
Its international gross will need as much help as it can get, as its $102.3m opening from 79 countries hasn’t sent the expected shockwaves around the global Box Office as intended. This was fronted by a disappointing $30.9m Chinese opening, which will see the film finish on a disastrous sub-$50m total – similar to ‘Ant-Man’s 3-day opening in the country. Like Wonder Woman, it seems as if a domestic over-performance is in store for the film here, necessary to offset its overseas lull.
Haunted horror ‘Pet Sematary’ provided the necessary R-rated counter-programming to the friendlier ‘Shazam!’, and earned $24.5m for its troubles between Friday and Sunday from a restrained $21m budget. It continues what’s been a strong year for horrors, after the varying successes of ‘Escape Room’, ‘Glass’, and ‘Us’ leaves the genre as one of the most successful after the caped crusaders.
Coincidentally, both ‘Pet Semetary’ and ‘Shazam!’ saw mirrored audience demographics in their opening weekends, with 58% of ‘Pet’s crowd being over-25 only slightly bettering ‘Shazam!’s (57%), while 58% of its audience being male again pipping ‘Shazam!’s 57%. It may raise the question of a different release date boosting ‘Pet Semetary’s opening, but it still marks Paramount’s biggest opening of the year so far, although halving the start made by ‘A Quiet Place’ 12 months ago. Overseas, the film earned over $17m, including $3.1m from Russia and $2m from the U.K.
Finally, STX drama ‘The Best of Enemies’ starring Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell, opened to a disappointing $4.4m from a $10m budget. Unlike the studio’s last hit, the feel-good ‘The Upside’ from January (starring Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart), audiences couldn’t relate in the same way, leading to STX’s worst opening since ‘Gringo’s $2.7m last March.
How did the others do?
It was a mixed time for Disney at the Box Office, with ‘Dumbo’s crash-landing surprising most pre-weekend forecasts. Its steep 60%+ drop saw it fall to an $18.2m weekend, meaning just $76.3m banked domestically. Hopes of a $150m domestic finish have all but vanished, as have the plans for a theatrical profit.
The studio won’t be too concerned though, as ‘Captain Marvel’ became the 1st solo superhero introduction film to break $1bn at the worldwide Box Office. It earned $12.4m this weekend for a $373.9m domestic total (the 8th biggest in the MCU), and for $1.04bn worldwide.