'Shazam!' & 'Pet Sematary' Look to Kick Off April with a Bang and Scream
by Brad Brevet
April 4, 2019
SATURDAY AM UPDATE: With an estimated $20.5 million on Friday night, WB's Shazam! is on its way to leading the weekend box office. The film is currently expected to hit around $51+ million for the weekend for a cume approaching $55 million once you roll the $3.3 million in from the pre-release Fandango event. The film also received an "A" CinemaScore from opening night audiences.
Paramount's release of Pet Sematary is looking at a runner-up finish after an estimated $10 million on Friday, pushing toward a three-day around $23.5 million. The film received a "C+" CinemaScore from opening day crowds.
STXFilms's The Best of Enemies brought in an estimated $1.62 million on Friday and is looking at a three-day debut around $4.8 million. Opening day audiences gave the drama an "A" CinemaScore.
You can check out all of the Friday estimates right here and we'll be back tomorrow morning with a complete look at the weekend.
FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Warner Bros.'s Shazam! is off to a strong start, bringing in $5.9 million from Thursday night previews last night. The performance is ahead of Star Trek Beyond, which brought in $5.5 million from previews and went on to deliver a $59.2 million opening. It's also just behind Ant-Man, which delivered $6.4 million in previews ahead of a $57.2 million debut.
Once you add in the $3.3 million Shazam! grossed from its early preview event on March 23, the film has $9.2 million in the bank heading into today's official opening day.
Additionally, Paramount's Pet Sematary scared up $2.3 million last night from previews beginning at 7PM in 2,942 locations. Taking a look at a couple of the comps used in our preview below, this is ahead of the $2.1 million in previews Annabelle grossed ahead of a $37.1 million debut and is behind The Conjuring 2, which delivered $3.3 million from previews ahead of a $41.8 million opening weekend.
Finally, STXfilms's The Best of Enemies took in an estimated $265K last night from previews in 1,440 locations.
We'll take a closer look at things tomorrow morning once Friday estimates come in. For now you can check out our weekend preview below.
WEEKEND PREVIEW: Following the second largest March all-time at the domestic box office, April arrives with plenty of several anticipated titles of its own, among them the likes of this weekend's releases of Shazam! and Pet Sematary, which are expected to finish in the top two spots, giving us our fourth new weekend number one in as many weeks. Along with those two new releases, STX will debut The Best of Enemies in just over 1,700 locations.
At the top, look for Warner Bros.'s release of New Line's Shazam! to take the weekend's top spot. The latest DC Comics adaptation injects some fun into the filmed DC Universe, which has become known for its dark and brooding characters and reviews have been extremely positive to the point it currently holds a 93% rating on RottenTomatoes. The studio will launch the film in over 4,200 theaters this weekend, anticipating a debut anywhere from $45-50 million, which is a range that lines up quite well with what we're seeing.
Taking a look at IMDb page view data over the two weeks leading up to release, Shazam! is pacing behind the likes of both Ant-Man ($57.2m opening) and Ant-Man and the Wasp ($75.8m opening) as well as just behind Ready Player One, which debuted around the same time last year with just over $41 million. At the same time, the film is outpacing last April's Rampage, which opened with $35.8 million. Added to the mix, online ticket retailer Fandango.com reports Shazam! is currently outpacing Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse ($35.3m opening) at the same point in the sales cycle. IMDb page view data for the same comp shows the two films neck-and-neck.
All that being said, interest has already been shown in the film to the tune of $3.3 million from special previews held in late March. The result outperformed Aquaman's advanced screenings, which delivered $2.9 million two weeks ahead of release. All told, while we can see the film delivering a bit over $50 million this weekend, we're forecasting a performance just a bit under, right around $48 million.
Internationally, Shazam! opens day-and-date with the US in virtually all international markets this weekend with Japan serving as the lone exception, where the film will open on April 19.
In the runner-up position, look for Paramount's release of Pet Sematary, the latest Stephen King adaptation and the first since the monster success of It in September 2017. What will be most interesting with this release is to wonder if it can ride the coattails of It's success as the studio is anticipating a debut in the $20 million range, while we're seeing evidence it could very easily reach above $30 million.
A look at IMDb page view data shows Pet Sematary pacing ahead of The Conjuring 2 ($40m opening) and Annabelle: Creation ($35m opening) while pacing just a bit behind the first Annabelle, which debuted with $37 million in October 2014. However, compared to last year's monster breakout A Quiet Place, which debuted over the same weekend with $50 million, Pet Sematary is pacing well behind over the two weeks leading up to release. Meanwhile, Fandango.com reports pre-sales for Pet Sematary are actually ahead of A Quiet Place, supporting the notion this one could climb quite high.
Pet Sematary first screened at SXSW and received strong reviews, and that hasn't stopped as more critics have seen it. The film currently holds a score of 69 on Metacritic and a 76% on RottenTomatoes, which could certainly aid in its performance if word of mouth following Thursday night previews and into opening day are positive. All told, we're going out with a $30 million forecast and wouldn't be surprised to see it climb higher.
Internationally, Pet Sematary will debut in nearly 75% of the overseas marketplace including debuts in Australia, Germany, Mexico, Russia, Spain and the UK. The film will continue to expand overseas throughout the month of April and into May when it debuts in Brazil and Italy on May 9.
In third look for last weekend's #1 release of Disney's Dumbo to dip -53% or so for a three-day around $21 million, pushing toward a $80 million domestic cume after ten days in release.
One interesting title to watch this weekend will be Universal's Us as it faces its first major genre competition in Pet Sematary as it enters its third week in release. The film has already amassed over $136 million domestically and we're expecting a drop around -50% or so this weekend and a $16.6 million three-day and a domestic cume topping $155 million by the end of the weekend. Just how well Us and Pet Sematary can coexist could have a significant impact on the performance of both films this weekend.
Rounding out the top five is Disney's Captain Marvel, which enters its fifth week in release after recently becoming the seventh film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to top $1 billion worldwide. This week's release of Shazam! does present the first major competition the film has faced in its genre space since release and we're expecting it to have some impact, anticipating a dip around -51% and a three-day just over $10 million for a $371+ million domestic cume by the end of the weekend.
Just outside the top five, STX's release of the drama The Best of Enemies starring Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell will debut in over 1,700 locations with the studio anticipating a performance from $5-6 million, comping to the recent Best Picture winner Green Book and its $5.5 million second weekend as it expanded nationwide last November. To that point, a look at IMDb page view performance for comps such as Green Book and 2015's Black or White ($6.2 million opening) shows Best of Enemies trailing both titles over the two weeks leading up to release suggesting a performance closer to $5 million if not lower. While we recognize some historical evidence suggests it could reach as high as $7 million, the data we're seeing supports a forecast closer to the lower end of the anticipated range.
In limited release, Neon will debut the documentary Amazing Grace in eight theaters, A24 will release High Life, Amazon Studios will launch Peterloo in three theaters and IFC will be releasing The Wind into 35 locations.
This weekend's forecast is directly below. This post will be updated on Friday morning with Thursday night preview results followed by Friday estimates on Saturday morning, and a complete weekend recap on Sunday morning.
- Shazam! (4,217 theaters) - $48.0 M
- Pet Sematary (3,585 theaters) - $30.0 M
- Dumbo (4,259 theaters) - $21.6 M
- Us (3,512 theaters) - $16.6 M
- Captain Marvel (3,573 theaters) - $10.1 M
- The Best of Enemies (1,705 theaters) - $5.0 M
- Unplanned (1,516 theaters) - $4.7 M
- Five Feet Apart (2,484 theaters) - $3.8 M
- Wonder Park (2,281 theaters) - $2.4 M
- How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (1,922 theaters) - $2.2 M
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