BO Report: ‘Shazam!’ works its magic while ‘Pet Sematary’ underperforms


New Line/DC Entertainment’s family superhero adventure Shazam! was the dominant title in Australia last weekend without matching the heights of its US launch while Paramount’s horror remake Pet Sematary underperformed.

Despite the new entrants the national box office trailed the previous frame, weighed down by a lousy debut for Paramount’s animated fantasy adventure Wonder Park and steep second weekend drops by Disney’s Dumbo and Universal’s Us.

Among the specialty releases, Icelandic environmental comedy drama Woman at War had a decent start and US coming-of-age film Mid90s opened impressively.

The top 20 titles’ takings dropped by 10 per cent to $13.5 million, according to Numero. Directed by David F. Sandberg (best known for horror films Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation), Shazam! conjured up $4.4 million on 507 screens and $4.7 million including previews for Warner Bros.

In the US the movie starring Asher Angel as a teenager who transforms into a bubblegum-snapping superhero (Zachary Levi) when someone says the magic word beat industry expectations, delivering $56.8 million including sneaks.

The caper co-starring Mark Strong, Grace Fulton, Jack Dylan Grazer and Djimon Hounsou raked in $102 million on 40,000 screens in 79 international markets and is shaping as a very profitable production given the relatively modest $98 million budget.

Jordan Peele’s Us plunged by 57 per cent to $1.6 million, raising its total to $6.4 million, overtaking the lifetime total of his debut Get Out. The horror movie starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex, Elisabeth Moss and Tim Heidecker has amassed $152.4 million after three weekends in the US and $64.2 million in the rest of the world, already a big money maker for a film costing $20 million.

Tim Burton’s re-imagining of the Disney animated classic Dumbo fell by 48 per cent to $1.4 million, making $4.6 million thus far. The live action movie starring Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Eva Green, Danny DeVito, Finley Hobbins and Nico Parker has taken an anemic $76.3 million in 10 days in the US and a more respectable $137.5 million internationally.

Disney/Marvel’s Captain Marvel has amassed $1.038 billion worldwide, the ninth biggest superhero title of all time and the seventh MCU release to cross that threshold. Here, the sci-fi fantasy co-directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck advanced to $36.5 million after collecting $1.2 million in its fifth outing.

Justin Baldoni’s Five Feet Apart scored nearly $1.2 million in its second weekend, easing by a mere 26 per cent. The Roadshow release starring Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson as young patients with cystic fibrosis has garnered $3.4 million.

Starring Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz and John Lithgow, Pet Sematary opened with $1.1 million on 221 screens, much less potent than the $24.5 million US debut. The supernatural thriller based on Stephen King’s novel cost $21 million to produce so there is a fair upside for Paramount.

Directed by Mike Mitchell, The Lego Movie 2 drew $625,000 in its third, advancing to $6.1 million. The Warner Bros. animated family film has earned a modest $104.9 million in the US and $78.7 million internationally.

Production on Wonder Park started five years ago and the director Dylan Brown was fired early last year, allegedly for inappropriate and unwanted conduct. None of that augured well for the film about talking animals who run an amusement park, which took $267,000 on 142 screens and $370,000 with previews. So it won’t match the US, which has stumped up $42 million after four weekends.

Writer-director Stephen Merchant’s Fighting with My Family, which stars Florence Pugh as the young English woman who became the WWE’s youngest ever women’s champion, topped $3 million after making $220,000 in its third for Universal, outperforming the US’s $22.6 million.

Anthony Maras’ Hotel Mumbai fetched $151,000 in its fourth for Icon, ascending to nearly $3 million, but is resonating more strongly in the US, clocking $6.37 million after its second weekend wide.

Director Benedikt Erlingsson’s Woman at War stars Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir as a beloved choir leader who is secretly an eco-activist who is determined to bring down the heavy industry that threatens Iceland’s natural beauty. The Hi Gloss release garnered $66,000 on 21 screens and $178,000 with festival screenings.

The feature directing debut of Jonah Hill, Mid90s stars Sunny Suljic, Lucas Hedges and Katherine Waterston and follows a 13-year-old lad who spends time with a mostly older group of skateboarders in 1990s Los Angeles. Released by Roadshow, the film nabbed $45,000 at seven screens including sneaks.

Hill’s film grossed more than $13,000 in four days at Cinema Nova, delighting general manager Kristian Connelly, who was also pleased with Woman At War for which he expects a strong final result.

Surveying the weekend business, Wallis Cinemas programming manager Sasha Close tells IF: “Pet Sematary underperformed but it was a pleasing start for Shazam! Dumbo is unfortunately not gaining traction with audiences despite reasonable word-of-mouth.”