erik lundegaard

Sunday April 07, 2019

Box Office: Shazam! Lightens DCEU

Remember, kids: Floss before you fight.

This weekend, we got the first “Shazam!” movie in 78 years, the first “Pet Sematary” since 1992, and the first “white man overcomes racism with the help of an unlikely black friend” period piece since “Green Book” opened six months ago.†

“Shazam!” wins. No surprise.

The surprise is that its $53.4 million opening is the worst of the DC Extended Universe by far. The second-worst is “Aquaman,” which opened the week before Christmas 2018, and that's always a busy time to see movies. Almost everything else in the DCEU debuted with more than $100 mil.†

You could argue “Shazam!” is hardly DCEU anyway. Or if it is, it indciates how schizophrenic that universe has become. It began dark, with Superman killing people, got darker, with Batman a nutjob and with the death of Superman, lightened its (and our) load with “Wonder Woman,” chuckled a bit with “Aquaman,” and is now it's an outright comedy. That's not a universe, with consistent laws, but an entire spectrum. But at least it's going in the right direction.†I‘ll take laughs any day over the groans Zack Snyder’s crap causes.

“Pet Sematary” finished in second with $25 million. Unadjusted, that's the second-biggest opener for a movie based on a Stephen King story/novel. Adjust for inflation and things change only slightly:

1 It $124,785,300
2 The Green Mile $32,026,600
3 Pet Sematary $27,399,700
4 1408 $27,060,700
5 Secret Window $26,519,400

Except, oops, that “Pet Sematary” is the 1989 one with Fred Gwynn and Denise Crosby. When I wrote a Stephen King Top 5/Worst 5 list for MSN back in 2004, I tapped 1989's “Pet Sematary” as the third-worst of the bunch, behind only “Sleepwalkers” and “Maximum Overdrive.” But it opened well and did well at the box office. Here's SK's top 10 total box office, adjusted:

1 It $329,672,600
2 The Green Mile $235,822,400
3 The Shining $147,760,900
4 Carrie (1976) $143,293,000
5 Misery $131,089,100
6 Pet Sematary (1989) $130,717,700
7 Stand by Me $127,265,600
8 1408 $94,481,100
9 The Running Man $87,677,100
10 The Lawnmower Man $69,848,300

Where's the now-beloved “Shawshank Redemption”? In 15th place, with $60 millionójust ahead of one of my favorites, “Dead Zone” with Christopher Walken. Where will this year's “Pet Sematary” wind up? Who knows, but it won't touch the 1989 version. At the same time, it's probably better. Can't get no worse, as John sang.†

The other opener,†“The Best of Enemies,” this year's “Green Book,” didn't do so well out of the gate: sixth place, $4.5.†Trivia that doesn't feel trivial: “Green Book” has grossed almost as much in China ($70 million) as in the U.S. ($84).

Posted at 12:56 PM on Sunday April 07, 2019 in category Movies - Box Office  
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Twitter: @ErikLundegaard