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411 Box Office Report: Shazam! Holds Onto #1, Hellboy Falls Flat

April 14, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Shazam Zachary Levi

Shazam! retained the top spot at the box office this weekend, while Hellboy got off to a rough start. The DC Extended Universe film brought in $25.1 million, down a solid 53% from its $53.5 million opening weekend take. That hold is better than those of Justice League (56%), Suicide Squad (67%), Man of Steel (64%) and Batman V Superman (69%). It’s a good retention for a film that fans are obviously enjoying, giving the movie $94.9 million domestically and $258.8 million worldwide against its $100 million budget.

This is all good news for the film, which is the latest in DC’s move toward more popcorn-y, less gritty takes on its comic book heroes. It’s also a good hold when paired against its closest Marvel comparison, the first Ant-Man which was off 56% in its second weekend. Shazam is looking like it is well on the path to an easy profit, even with Avengers: Endgame about to take all the oxygen out of the room in a couple of weeks. As it stands, Shazam should still be aiming for a final domestic take of about $160 million, with the overseas grosses bringing it well within box office hit territory.

The highest new release of the weekend wasn’t Hellboy as expected, but instead Little. The Universal comedy, which is a sort of reverse take on the Tom Hanks comedy Big, got off to a $15.5 million start. That’s right about where most predictions had it. The film, which stars Regina Hall and Issa Rae, is the second-best comedy opening of the year so far behind Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27.1 million).

Little succeeded on the virtues of offering itself as counter-programming to the superhero-heavy fare over the last several weeks, with marketing that played well to families. The film wasn’t beloved by critics, who were mild with a 49% Rotten Tomatoes consensus, but audiences have taken to the film with a B+ CinemaScore. Little shouldn’t have much of a problem recouping its investment, with a fairly low $20 million budget. International grosses won’t be strong (they sit at $1.9 million in a few markets thus far), but domestically it is looking like around $40 million to $45 million. With marketing costs kept fairly low, this will be a solid performance that should keep Universal happy.

The same can’t be said of how Lionsgate will view Hellboy. The reboot of the comic book francise was DOA with just $12 million. That’s incredibly low for a film that most thought would be struggling even at a predicted $18 million to $20 million start. The opening is way below the $23.2 million start of the Guillermo del Toro-directed 2004 take on Mike Mignola’s hero, to say nothing of the $34.5 million brought in by Hellboy II: The Golden Army in July of 2008.

There are a lot of reasons why Hellboy failed, but the bottom line is this: fans of the material loved Del Toro’s versions. And while some were looking forward to this film, it also garnered a ton of negative buzz for fans who didn’t think it could recapture that Del Toro/Ron Perlman magic. Critics hated this film, at a mere 15% on Rotten Tomatoes, and audiences agreed with an ugly C CinemaScore. Part of this may be due to the clashes behind the scenes; a report on Friday claimed that the film had a lot of production problems due to two producers trying to muck with director Neil Marshall’s vision. The fact that the film had a whopping sixteen producers is also a sign of too many cooks, which may have ultimately sunk this one.

Lionsgate can take some solace in the fact that Hellboy didn’t have the cost of a Marvel or DC film, but it’s still not going to be profitable unless it has some very hefty grosses overseas. It’s not off to a good start, with just $10.1 million for a $22.1 million worldwide total. It only has next week before Endgame arrives, and right now it looks as if it will be lucky to get to $30 million domestically. It will likely need at least $100 million overseas to hit any profit margin, a feat that isn’t impossible, but does seem unlikely.

Pet Sematary came in at #4 in its second weekend with $10 million, a 59% drop from last weekend. That’s not the worst drop considering how frontloaded the movie was expected to be. The Stephen King re-adaptation is doing just fine, now up to $41.1 million domestically and $76.8 million worldwide on a $21 million budget. It looks likely to finish up with a $60 million to $65 million take, which is enough for a solid profit for Paramount.

Dumbo is continuing to slide down the charts, off 49% in its third weekend with $9.2 million. The live-action take on the animated classic now stands at $89.9 million domestically, but a much stronger take overseas has brought it to $266.9 million. It is still looking like it won’t make money off its $170 million budget plus marketing, but Disney may not be looking at the worst-case scenario anymore. It should end its domestic run at around $110 million or so.

Captain Marvel edged down just 31% in its fifth weekend to $8.6 million. The MCU film has totalled $386.5 million domestically and $1.064 billion worldwide. It looks fairly likely to top $400 million in the US at this point, though not much more. The budget was $153 million.

Us was down 50% in its fourth weekend with $6.9 million. The horror film has rung up $163.5 million domestically and $236 worldwide, big numbers against a budget of $20 million. It is aiming for about $180 million in the US.

Aviron’s romance After disappointed in domestic theaters, nailing down just $6.2 million. The drama, which is based on a book by Anna Todd, was hoping for a start in the $10 million range. Unfortunately for it, there are a host of options in the theaters for young adults and this one wasn’t high enough on their list. Critics didn’t like this at 13% on RT, but teen romances never care about that. The bigger problem was the B CinemaScore. Sure, that sounds fine, but consider that this crowd is predisposed to love these kinds of movies. By comparison, Five Feet Apart had an A, as did The Fault in Our Stars. Even the lukewarm Midnight Sun and Everything, Everything managed A- scores.

The good news for After is that its catching on overseas. The film added $12.3 million internationally for a $18.5 million worldwide start. If the overseas totals continue to come in, it should be a profitable venture against its $14 million budget plus targeted marketing. The domestic final should be around $20 million.

United Artists and LAIKA had a dud with Missing Link, which got off to a dull $5.8 million start. That’s not even half of the expected $12 million start, a rare misfire from the studio that brought the likes of Coraline, ParaNorman, and Kubo and the Two Strings. This film just flew too far under the radar, and positive reviews (89% on RT) couldn’t save it any more than the B+ CinemaScore could. There’s no word on the budget, but LAIKA’s other stop-motion films all cost in the $60 million range. There’s no way Missing Link makes that back.

Closing out the top ten was STX’s The Best of Enemies, down a rough 55% in its second week to $2 million. The drama is now at $8.1 million and could maybe hit around $15 million, not enough for profit against a $10 million budget.

Next weekend will see the arrival of a new horror film in The Curse of La Llorona, the latest spinoff in the Conjuring universe. This one should open in the high teens to $20 million range, enough for #1. Meanwhile, faith-based drama Breakthough will take advante of Easter weekend for perhaps $13 million or so, while Disneynature’s Penguins targets a mid-single digits number.

BOX OFFICE TOP TEN (Three-Day Domestic Numbers)
1. Shazam! – $25.1 million ($94.9 million total)
2. Little – $15.5 million ($15.5 million total)
3. Hellboy – $12 million ($12 million total)
4. Pet Sematary – $10 million ($41.1 million total)
5. Dumbo – $9.2 million ($89.9 million total)
6. Captain Marvel – $8.6 million ($386.5 million total)
7. Us – $6.9 million ($163.5 million total)
8. After – $6.2 million ($6.2 million total)
9. Missing Link – $5.8 million ($5.8 million total)
10. The Best of Enemies – $2 million ($8.1 million total)

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Box Office, Hellboy, Shazam, Jeremy Thomas