For some time the Warner Brothers / DC Comics partnership has been under intense scrutiny. After Christopher Nolan’s intensely popular take on Batman, the DC universe has struggled to recapture that level of greatness. Sure, there had been films that were financial successes, and “Wonder Woman” was a beloved exception, but when looked back upon they are regarded as poor quality affairs.
This led to a shakeup of the DC production team in the Warners executive suites, and since then there has been a change in reception. “Aquaman” has been regarded positively, and is one of the biggest grossing DC releases. And now they have followed that with another hit, albeit on a smaller scale. Let’s take a peek at Billy Batson’s box office boon!
SHAZAM! – $53.45m Million
While yes, this is a low opening on the scale of most superhero comic book titles, this was also a smaller picture. The $100 million shooting budget is small, in comparison to other similar releases, and it was not directly tied into the DC extended character universe. (“Aquaman” by comparison was made for nearly $170 million; “Justice League” cost $300 million.) The projection had this landing with a $45-50 million debut, and through the weekend that total kept inching higher. The reactions to Shazam! have been favorable. It sits with a 93% approval on Rotten Tomatoes, and the CinemaScore is a robust “A” grade. The approach with this story was unique and it led to an audience-pleasing time in theaters.
2. PET SEMATARY – $25.0m
Hot in the wake of the immense success that was “It” Blumhouse Productions elected to reboot another Stephen King horror staple. While not coming anywhere near the heights of the killer clown it was not expected to reach there either. (Part of the reason is another hit horror title in the marketplace.) It is performing more like a standard horror title, and that will work for Paramount, as Blumhouse always keeps budgets lower to allow for profitability. In the weeks before “Avengers: Endgame” arrives to Hoover up all of the interest this one should earn a profit.
3. DUMBO – $18.22m
Looking to be a mostly disappointing return for the live-action remake of the Disney classic. This stands as a -60% drop, which is sharper than expected as it was seen to be drawing over $20 million for its second weekend. It is really starting to appear that this time the rebooted vault title did not work for the House of Mouse.
4. US – $13.81m
Holding nicely is Jordan Peele’s highly regarded second effort. He has drawn enough attention to cross over $150 million domestic, and $200 million global in just three weeks. This is pacing at $40 million ahead of his first film “Get Out” after the same amount of days in release.
5. CAPTAIN MARVEL – $12.68M
Dropping a mere -38% with another superhero title debuting is a sign of strength. She has grossed now $375 domestically, and that is only ⅓ of its global total, of well over $1 billion.
6. BEST OF ENEMIES – $4.5m
A civil rights period drama starring Oscar winner Sam Rockwell this would possibly have been a better play in the awards season. But then it would have been up against the similarly framed “Green Book”. This is the kind of title that would benefit from critical support to draw an audience, but sitting with a dismal 50% on Rotten Tomatoes stifles those hopes as well.
7. FIVE FEET APART – $3.7m
The small teen drama has found a core audience and it is lingering, shedding theaters at a slower pace than expected. It has earned over $40 million by now, probably double the initial expectations for it.
8. UNPLANNED – $3.1m
Last week’s surprise this pro-life title actually expanded into 700 more theaters this weekend, something nobody would have expected. The very inexpensive budgeted drama was denied most avenues of promotion and so it had a very low front-end expenditure. This will likely become one of the top earners for the faith-based distributor Pure Flix.
9. WONDER PARK – $2.06m
Paramount’s desperate attempt with this long-delayed animated title is starting to sputter. It dropped 30% of its theaters this weekend and to date has barely made it the $40 million level.
10. HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 3: THE HIDDEN WORLD – $1.98m
The expected finale of the franchise for Dreamworks Animation it has performed mostly in line with the first sequel. It has just crossed over $500 million in worldwide receipts.