LOS ANGELES -- Four new wide releases were not enough to unseat Warner Bros.' Shazam! from the top spot at the box office last weekend.
The superhero origin story, which stars Zachary Levi as the titular hero, came in first place for the second weekend in a row, adding $25.1 million (a 53 percent drop) for a cumulative $94.9 million, according to estimates from measurement firm Comscore.
That PG-13 film centers on a teenager (Asher Angel) who can transform into a hero with an adult body (Zachary Levi) by speaking the word shazam. Based on a DC Comics character, Shazam! has a jaunty and lighthearted tone, and its continued box-office success provides further evidence of the success of Warner Bros.' shift away from the dark mood of Suicide Squad and Justice League.
Shazam! picked up an additional $35.9 million outside of North America last weekend, according to Warner Bros., which brings the film's worldwide gross to $258.8 million. That's more than double the roughly $100 million the movie cost to make.
But a mix of wisecracks and superpowers is no guarantee of success, as evidenced by another superhero movie: Lionsgate's Hellboy, financed by Millennium Media.
That film, a bloody, R-rated affair with a cherry-red, semi-demonic superhero (David Harbour) at its helm, landed in third place with a dreary $12 million in North American theaters last weekend, well below analysts' expectations. A reboot of the Guillermo del Toro movies (themselves based on comic books by Mike Mignola), the new Hellboy was directed by Neil Marshall, with Harbour taking over the title role from Ron Perlman. It had a production budget of $50 million, according to Box Office Mojo.
Though it keeps the unserious tone that helped del Toro's movies develop a cult following and stand out from other superhero stories, the new Hellboy arrived to poor reviews from critics -- it currently holds a 15 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
That's significantly less than the debuts of the 2004 original ($23 million opening) and the 2008 sequel ($34.5 million opening).
More successful was Universal's Little, which landed in second place with $15.5 million, according to Comscore, which compiles box-office data. It had a reported production budget of around $20 million.
Little, a comedy directed by Tina Gordon Chism, is like Shazam! in reverse.
The movie, produced by and starring black-ish actress Marsai Martin, follows a tech executive (Regina Hall) who transforms back into her younger self (Martin) after an encounter with an amateur magician. Martin, 13, made history on the project as the youngest executive producer in Hollywood history.
The film earned mixed reviews with a B-plus CinemaScore and a 49 percent rotten rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.
Little drew a largely female audience. Jim Orr, Universal Pictures distribution chief, credited the cast, Chism's direction and producer William Packer's overall know-how.
"He's done it with different kinds of films. Breaking In was a thriller, Girls Trip was an R-rated comedy. Little is kind of an all-ages film, PG-13 rated," said Orr, whose studio signed a first-look deal with Packer in 2013. "He's a brand. And he has a great idea of what is going to be successful at the box office."
In fourth place, Paramount's remake of Pet Sematary added $10 million in its second weekend (a 59 percent drop) for a cumulative $41.1 million.
Rounding out the top five, Disney's Dumbo added $9.2 million in its third weekend for a cumulative $89.9 million.
At No. 6, Disney's Captain Marvel added $8.6 million in its sixth weekend for a cumulative $386.5 million.
Universal's Us added $6.9 million in its fourth weekend for a cumulative $163.5 million, landing in seventh place.
Also new last week, Aviron's romance After came in at No. 8 with $6.2 million. Based on Anna Todd's Harry Styles-inspired fan fiction novel, it garnered a B Cinemascore, but the film was not screened for critics. Post-release reviews have not been kind with a 13 percent rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Laika and United Artists Releasing's stop-motion animation Missing Link struggled to find an audience, opening at No. 9 with $5.8 million.
With voices by Hugh Jackman, Zach Galifianakis and Zoe Saldana, it earned a B-plus CinemaScore and an 89 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
In 10th place, STX Entertainment's The Best of Enemies added $2 million in its second weekend for a cumulative $8.1 million.
In limited release, Bleecker Street opened Teen Spirit, starring Elle Fanning, in four locations with $44,361, a per-screen average of $11,090. It earned a 69 percent fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Gunpowder & Sky debuted Her Smell with Elisabeth Moss in three locations with $39,058, a per-screen average of $13,019. It earned an 87 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Greenwich Entertainment released the historical comedy Wild Nights With Emily in three locations with $33,000, a per-screen average of $11,000. It earned a 95 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
And Mary Magdalene, starring Rooney Mara as Mary and Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus, finally opened, more than three years after production. Harvey Weinstein had once conceived of the film, directed by Garth Davis (Lion) as his next Oscar contender.
After the fallout of Weinstein and the bankruptcy of the Weinstein Co., IFC Films acquired the biblical bio-pic. Critics dismissed it (44 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and audiences mostly did, too. It grossed about $62,000 on 62 screens.
MovieStyle on 04/19/2019
Print Headline: Shazam! keeps lead, Hellboy goes down in flames