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411 Box Office Report: Shazam Opens at #1 With $53.4 Million

April 7, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

The other Captain Marvel had their turn atop the box office, as Shazam! opened with an easy victory this weekend. The DC film took in $53.4 million to top the box office, a solid performance that falls right in line with expectations going into the weekend.

While the number is the lowest for a DC Extended Universe film to date, that was always expected and doesn’t bode too poorly for its future. After all, the previous low was Aquaman’s $67.8 million and it eventually climbed its way to $335.1 million domestically. While Aquaman’s final take was vastly aided by the holiday weekend, it also has to be said that that movie had a much higher budget than Shazam! at $160 million vs. the latter’s $100 million budget.

The recipe here was simple: DC went for a lighter film than the earlier DCEU movies, focusing on humor and fun. The move paid off, as Shazam! was ahit with critics and fans. The film has a stellar 91% consensus on Rotten Tomatoes, a buzz that definitely helped drive people to the theaters. And the A CinemaScore means that word of mouth should be good, something that was reflected in the fact that the Friday to Saturday drop was a scant 3% compared to 23% for Aquaman, 8% for Wonder Woman and 38% for Batman V Superman.

All of this means that the film is on track for a good number. The best comparison here is probably Ant-Man which started with $57.2 million on its way to $180.2 million on a $130 million budget. Shazam! has Avengers: Endgame poised to suck up all its audience in a few weeks, but before then it should make some good money on its way to at least $160 million. Overseas it’s also doing well with $102 million. With the addition of early Fandango preview screenings it is at $56.8 million domestically and $158.8 million worldwide, well on its way to profit for the studio.

#2 went to Pet Sematary, which had a nice opening at $25 million. Again, that’s right at expectations. The re-adaptation of the Stephen King horror book may not be doing IT numbers, but its right where the studio wanted it to be. The film is right about on par with the Evil Dead remake’s $25.8 million from April in 2013.

Pet Sematary overcame some initial hesitation from Stephen King fans about whether this film needed to be made again at all, winning many over with creepy trailers and promo materials. Critics liked it well enough for a horror film at 61%, and while audiences gave it just a C+ CinemaScore that’s not horrible for the genre. Either way, Paramount is going to be happy here. Its $25 million adds with an okay $17.3 million overseas so far for $42.3 million worldwide to start. It should be able to get to at least $60 million and perhaps as high as $80 million if it has a better-than-average hold. On a $21 million budget, either end of that spectrum is profitable.

Dumbo followed up its soft opening weekend with a hefty fall, dropping 60% to $18.2 million. The film was partially a victim of its poor reviews, but the biggest problem was how much of the family crowd that Shazam! took away. Dumbo now has $76.3 million domestically, not the numbers the studio was hoping for, but is doing a bit better overseas with $213.8 million worldwide. It still has quite a way to to go before it makes back its expensive $170 million budget plus marketing. If international numbers continue to hold up it could get close to breakeven. Here in the US, it seems on course for about $115 million to $120 million on the upper end.

Us was down 58% in its third weekend, scoring $13.8 million. The Jordan Peele-directed horror film took a hit from Pet Sematary of course, but is still on course for a fine profit. The film sits at a fantastic $152.4 million domestically and $216.6 million worldwide, huge against its $20 million budget. It is still on course for $180 million to $190 million in the US.

Captain Marvel had a very good hold considering another superhero film entered the fray, down just 39% in its fourth weekend to $12.7 million. The MCU film has totalled $374.1 million domestically and $1.038 billion worldwide, good for #8 and #7 respectively among the Marvel Cinematic Universe films thus far. It should be able to pass Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s $389.8 million to hit #7 in domestic numbers, with a $395 million finish likely. On a $153 million budget, it is of course huge.

STX’s The Best of Enemies opened with barely a peep, bringing in just $4.5 million. That is not a good number at all, especially for a film that was expected to start in the $10 million range. The stat reps the lowest semi-wide release start of Taraji P. Henson’s career, just ahead of 2006’s Something New ($4.9 million). No one expected this to be a hit, but STX hoped it could be solid counter-programming to the fandom-driven power of the other two new releases. The problem as that it catered to older audiences, who pay attention to reviews more. And the film’s 52% on RT wasn’t inspiring.

There is an upside, albeit a small one. Best of Enemies has very good word of mouth at an A CinemaScore, and it played well throughout the weekend. Also, it was cheap at just $10 million. Still, this film won’t do much if anything overseas, and the marketing will push the costs of this up a good ways. Even a $20 million final take, which seems unlikely, will be enough to make this a hit for STX.

Five Feet Apart was off 40% in its fourth weekend with $3.7 million. The Lionsgate film now stands at $41.6 million domestically and $62.6 million worldwide, a hit against a low $7 million budget. It should end close out its run at about $50 million.

Pure Flix’s Unplanned was down an expected 50% in its second weekend, following the frontloaded trend of faith-based films. The anti-abortion drama brought in $3.2 million, bringing its total to $12.5 million. It should end its run at around $18 million and will likely be profitable for the studio.

Wonder Park slipped away in its fourth weekend, down 59% to $2 million. The family film is not going to be a money maker, having now grossed $42 million domestically and $60 million worldwide against a prohibitive $80 million budget. The final domestic take remains about $50 million.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World was down 55% to $2 million in its seventh weekend. The animated threequel has now grossed $156.7 million domestically and $508.1 million worldwide. A nice hit, it will close out at around $165 million on a budget of $129 million.

Next weekend sees a host of films trying to make some money before Avengers: Endgame kicks off an early summer season. Hellboy should lead the pack with an opening around $18 million, followed by the comedy Little ($15 million), animated film Missing Link ($12 million) and romatic teend drama After ($3 million – $4 million).

BOX OFFICE TOP TEN (Three-Day Domestic Numbers)
1. Shazam! – $53.4 million ($56.8 million total)
2. Pet Sematary – $25 million ($25 million total)
3. Dumbo – $18.2 million ($76.3 million total)
4. Us – $13.8 million ($142.5 million total)
5. Captain Marvel – $12.7 million ($374.1 million total)
6. The Best of Enemies – $4.5 million ($4.5 million total)
8. Five Feet Apart – $3.7 million ($41.6 million total)
8. Unplanned – $3.2 million ($12.5 million total)
9. Wonder Park – $2 million ($42 million total)
10. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – $2 million ($156.7 million total)