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SYFY WIRE Box Office

Box office: Shazam! shocks top spot with $53M; Pet Sematary buries second with $25M

By Josh Weiss
Shazam & Pet Sematary

After the massive box-office success of Aquaman, the DCEU is proving that it's got more lucrative tricks up its sleeve with Shazam!

Enjoying its first weekend in domestic theaters, the Big-meets-the-superhero-genre feature will electrify the top spot with a shocking $53 million. That shatters early expectations, which estimated a $40 million opening weekend. Combined with the advanced Fandango screenings in late March, that total currently stands at $56 million.

While that's about $10 million shy of what Aquaman did back in December, Shazam! had a smaller production budget, which means it doesn't have to worry that much about recouping the money that went into making it. Internationally, the film is fast approaching $160 million, with $30.9 million of that figure coming from China.

Directed by horror vet David F. Sandberg (Lights Out, Annabelle: Creation), the movie digs deep into DC's pantheon for its choice of central hero, something that proves to be an asset rather than a hindrance, because a more obscure character comes with less expectation/baggage than Batman or Superman. After all, the hero (once known as "Captain Marvel") was originally created not by DC, but by Fawcett Comics.

Written by Henry Gayden (Earth to Echo), Shazam! is set in Philadelphia and finds foster kid Billy Batson (Asher Angel) turning into an adult superhero (Zachary Levi) after a run-in with a wizard named Shazam (Djimon Hounsou). Not well versed in the world of selfless do-goodery, Billy relies on his fellow foster kid, Freddie Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer), to navigate his newfound abilities and how to best put them to use.

As Billy and Freddie goof around, Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong) gains in strength after years of searching for a way to gain his own magical abilities. As a child in the 1970s, he was deemed unworthy to wield the wizard's powers. He finally gets his wish, however, when the Seven Deadly Sins (once trapped by the wizard) inhabit his body via a mystical eye.

Zachary Levi and Jack Dylan Grazer in Shazam!

After 2017's Wonder Woman (93%), the film holds the highest Rotten Tomatoes score of the entire DCEU, with an impressive 91%.

Also hitting theaters this weekend is Paramount's remake of Stephen King's Pet Sematary. Currently holding a 61% on Rotten Tomatoes, the horror film will inter the second box-office spot with $25 million from 3,585 domestic theaters. Not accounting for inflation, that's more than double the amount made during the first adaptation's initial weekend run in 1989.

Helmed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer (Starry Eyes), the project stars Jason Clarke (Terminator Genisys) as Louis Creed, a university doctor who slowly begins to lose his mind after his neighbor, Jud Crandall (Interstellar's John Lithgow), shows him a magical burial site that brings things back to life.

Amy Seimetz (The Killing) and Jeté Laurence (The Americans) star as Louis' wife and young daughter, respectively. Jeff Buhler (The Prodigy) wrote the screenplay. Internationally, the remake's financial haul stands at $42.5 million.

Jason Clarke in Pet Sematary

Now in its second week, Disney's live-action Dumbo (directed by Tim Burton) is flapping its ears to an added $18 million domestically. That's a 60% drop since last weekend, when it nabbed the top spot with $45 million. Even so, it has soared past the $200 million mark globally, for a current total of $213.8 million.

Entering its third week in theaters, Jordan Peele's Us copied another $13 million, bringing its North American haul to $152 million and its international haul to $216.6 million to date.

Having passed the $1 billion mark at the global box office earlier in the week, Marvel Studios' Captain Marvel nabbed another $12.7 million domestically and $14.1 million overseas this weekend. In terms of total global ticket sales, Captain Marvel is now the ninth-highest-grossing comic book movie of all time.

(via Variety, The Hollywood ReporterBox Office Mojo & The Numbers)