Warner Bros.’ “Space Jam: A New Legacy” has blasted past box office expectations with a $31.6 million opening weekend from 3,985 locations, beating Marvel Studios’ “Black Widow,” which earned an estimated $26.2 million in its second weekend.
The combination of LeBron James, the Looney Tunes and references to Warner Bros.’ entire IP catalog was enough to give the studio both the best post-pandemic opening for any family film and the strongest opening weekend for a Warner release since the $31.6 million Friday-Sunday start of “Godzilla vs. Kong” back in early April. In fact, this opening total tops the entire theatrical run of “In the Heights,” which has grossed $29 million through six weekends in theaters. All Warner Bros. films have also been released simultaneously on HBO Max at no extra charge.
Critics have rejected the sequel with a 31% Rotten Tomatoes score, but audiences have embraced it with an A- on CinemaScore along with a 3.5/5 rating on Postrak. CinemaScore demographics showed 72% of the audience is below the age of 35 but only 32% is below the age of 18, showing strong turnout from single millennials and older Gen Z audiences that supported family turnout.
That millennial turnout is also a likely factor in “Black Widow” taking a 67% drop from its $80 million opening weekend, though it still sports a $131 million 10-day domestic total and $264 million worldwide. Disney did not disclose revenue from paid streaming sales on Disney+ after doing so last weekend, and it remains to be seen whether the studio will do so when “Jungle Cruise” is released in theaters and premium on-demand next weekend.
Also opening is Sony’s “Escape Room: Tournament of Champions” with $8.4 million from 2,815 locations. Produced on a $15 million budget, the horror film has met pre-weekend projections but is opening below the $18 million launch earned by the first “Escape Room” in January 2019.
Universal’s “F9” is in fourth with $7.6 million, making it the second film since the pandemic to gross $150 million domestically as its total grows to $154 million in North America and $591 million worldwide. Fellow Universal release “The Boss Baby: Family Business” completes the Top 5 with $4.7 million, giving it a total of $44.6 million after three weekends.