Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Weekend Box Office: Audiences are saying "Shazam!"

Illustration for article titled Weekend Box Office: Audiences are saying "Shazam!"
Photo: Warner Bros.

More than a few people walked up to the local multiplex and uttered the magic word “Shazam!” this past weekend, as the family-friendly DC superhero flick racked up $53.4 million, more than double its closest competitor and a good reminder that it’s nice when these movies are actually fun. That opening puts it on par with Marvel’s more light-hearted entries like Ant-Man, meaning Zachary Levi’s good-natured throwback of a musclebound hero should end up doing quite nicely at the box office, if nowhere near the vicinity of Marvel’s recent blockbuster entries.


Those looking for something a little darker (though not, like, Zack Snyder’s DCEU dark) found it in the harrowing child death of second-place finisher Pet Sematary. The new iteration of the Stephen King classic clambered its way out of the ancient burial ground and into theaters to the tune of $25 million, which may not sound like much compared to the gonzo returns of It but is actually the second-biggest opening ever for a Stephen King adaptation. Plus, it only cost $21 million to make, so this little undead monster is already technically in the black. Of course, audiences didn’t seem all that scared, awarding it a dismal “C+” Cinemascore, a rare instance of the collective American moviegoers’ rating lining up perfectly with The A.V. Club’s assessment.

In the realm of films that don’t seem to have box-office legs as long as its hero’s ears, we’ve got Disney’s live-action Dumbo. The Tim Burton-directed CG spectacle took an elephant-sized dump by netting only $18.2 million, good enough for third place but a drop of more than 60% from its opening weekend, not a good indicator that audiences are eager for a return trip to the circus. Whether you were delighted or disappointed by the film, surely we can all agree on one thing: Eva Green deserves better.

Rounding out top five are Jordan Peele’s Us, coming in fourth place with $13.8 million and already in the top five highest-grossing horror films of all time, with a total domestic gross of $152 million. Nipping at the film’s doppelgangers’ heels is Captain Marvel, adding another $12.68 million to its cosmic haul of $374 million, as well as shape-shifting globally into a movie that just crossed the billion-dollars line.

In smaller news, treacly hogwash The Best Of Enemies (“another feel-good movie about those darn racists,” as we described it) pulled in $4.5 million from a mostly older audience, but the excellent new space-set head trip from Claire Denis, High Life, found Robert Pattinson bringing in the win for highest per-theater average by clocking $100,000 at just four theaters. And happily, that ugly piece of shit known as The Haunting Of Sharon Tate didn’t even make the chart.

For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.

Alex McLevy is a writer and editor at The A.V. Club, and would kindly appreciate additional videos of robots failing to accomplish basic tasks.