The tone of DC Universe movies has been all over the map since its first entry, Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, but it seems that Warner Brothers have finally zeroed in on what works for the studio with the more fun-spirited Wonder Woman, the off-the-wall Aquaman, and now the more light-hearted, funny, and kid-friendly Shazam! (except for the unnecessarily dark first act and the gruesome boardroom scene). Shazam! scored a very tidy $53 million in its opening weekend (plus $3 million in previews), and while that is less than all the other DC Universe films, this one was also not expected to do $100 or $125 million in its opening weekend, especially with a relatively cheaper cost ($80 million) and no A-list star power (Zachary Levi is the biggest star of the film, and he’s still best known for Chuck, a television action comedy that ended in 2012).
Shazam! managed to beat expectations, while getting some help from fawning critics (91 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and a lot of love from audiences, who gave it an A Cinemascore. Probably the closest comparable film to Shazam! is the more kid-friendly Marvel entry, Ant-Man, which opened with a similar $57 million (and a bigger budget of $130 million). Like Ant-Man, I would expect Shazam! to top out in the $150-$175 million range, domestically. The film is also doing swift business overseas this weekend, especially in China.
In at number two is the remake of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary, and the results there are a mixed bag. It opened with around $24.2 million, which is the second best opening ever for a Stephen King film. On other hand, it’s a fraction of what It opened with in 2017 ($123 million). It’s obviously also well off the pace of Halloween, which opened last year with $76 million. It’s more in line with the Evil Dead remake in 2013, which opened with $25 million on its way to $54 million. That would not be a bad showing for Pet Sematary given its $20 million price tag, but we’ve also seen Jason Blum do a lot more with a lot less. This is more in line with Blum’s The Visit, which opened with $25 million on its way to $65 million, but that movie only cost $5 million to produce.