“Shazam!,” the comedic DC superhero origin story from Warner Bros. and New Line starring Zachary Levi, earned $5.9 million in its Thursday box office previews. It already earned $3.3 million in special preview screenings in partnership with Fandango, bringing its cumulative total so far to $9.2 million. It opens on over 4,260 screens this weekend.
“Shazam!” also opens opposite the horror film “Pet Sematary,” which Paramount is releasing based on the classic Stephen King novel. That film is opening on approximately 3,500 domestic screens this weekend, and it made $2.3 million on Thursday night at approximately 2,942 locations.
Warner Bros. and New Line are projecting an opening between $45-50 million for “Shazam!,” with independent trackers keeping their estimates low also at around $50 million. By comparison, the 2015 Marvel film “Ant-Man,” which was also a more light-hearted, child-friendly superhero origin story, made $6.2 million in its Thursday previews and opened to $57 million in the middle of the summer.
Paramount is projecting that “Pet Sematary” will open in the $20 million range, while independent trackers say it could go as high as $25-27 million. Last April, the horror film “Truth or Dare” opened wide opposite “Rampage” and made $750,000 in Thursday previews and went on to gross $18.6 million its opening weekend. Paramount’s “A Quiet Place” also opened this same weekend last year and made $4.3 million in its Thursday previews, following strong word of mouth to a $50.2 million open.
Directed by David F. Sandberg, “Shazam” follows foster child Billy Batson (Asher Angel), who is chosen as “Champion of Eternity” by an ancient wizard (Djimon Hounsou) and granted the ability to transform into the superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi). With the help of his disabled foster brother and superhero fanatic Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer), Billy learns to master his powers and takes them out for a joyride but is forced to get serious when his powers attract the interest of the twisted industrialist Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong). It has a 92% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
“Pet Sematary” is directed by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmeyer and stars Jason Clarke. Clarke plays the father of a family that discovers a cemetery that can return anyone buried in it back from the dead, but only at a terrible price. John Lithgow and Amy Seimetz also star. It has a 71% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
STXfilms’ “The Best of Enemies” is also opening this weekend. It took in an estimated $265,000 last night at 1,440 locations. The film will open wide today on 1,705 screens. It’s projected to open in the $5 million range and has a 57% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell star in the film based on a true story about the the unlikely relationship between Ann Atwater (Henson), an outspoken civil rights activist, and C.P. Ellis (Rockwell), a local Ku Klux Klan leader who reluctantly co-chaired a community summit, battling over the desegregation of schools in Durham, North Carolina during the racially-charged summer of 1971.