Box office: ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’ disappoints with lower-than-expected $30.5 million

Although March has already seen two sequels achieve record opening weekends for their respective franchises, that would not be the case with Warner Bros’ superhero sequel “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” which found itself at the point of knives drawn by critics and some fans alike. The latter voted with their dollars and just didn’t show up in the numbers these superhero movies tend to achieve.

Once again starring Zachary Levi, this time joined by Dame Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu and Rachel Zegler as the titular antagonists, “Fury of the Gods” went into the weekend with a mediocre 53% on Rotten Tomatoes from critics, but a better Audience Score of 87% and a relatively decent “B+” from audience poller, Cinemascore.

Still, it only made $3.4 million in Thursday previews, pointing to a lower than expected opening, even with the relatively low tracking numbers released earlier in the week. After making $11.7 million on Friday, the “Shazam!” sequel ended up with an estimated $30.5 million in 4,071 theaters or $7,500 average per location. For box office trainspotters, that’s the 12th worst opening for a movie released into more than 4,000 theaters.

Internationally, the movie made $35 million in 77 markets for a global opening weekend of $65 million, which is also not great, especially when you look at the China numbers, where it made $4.4 million on 21,280 screens. (That’s about a third of the total movie screens in the country.)

After a record opening for its own franchise, the horror sequel “Scream VI” dropped to second place with $17.5 million, down 61% from its opening weekend. It has made $76 million total domestically, which is just $5.6 million short of what 2022’s “Scream” made in total. To date, only the first two Wes Craven-directed movies have crossed the $100 million milestone domestically.

Michael B. Jordan‘s “Creed III” held up decently in its third weekend with $15.4 million, down 43% from last weekend, to take third place with $127.7 million total domestic. That amount has allowed “III” to surpass both previous “Creed” movies and the total gross for the original 1976 “Rocky,” not accounting for inflation, as well as 1982’s “Rocky III.” In fact, it’s less than a million away from passing “Rocky IV,” which would make “Creed III” the venerable boxing franchise’s new record holder.

SEE March 2023 box office preview

Sony’s sci-fi thriller “65,” starring Adam Driver, dropped to fourth place with $5.8 million, down a respectable 53% from its opening weekend, despite primarily negative reviews. It made another $5.1 million overseas to bring its global total to $38.8 million.

Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” took fifth place with just over $4 million this weekend, down 43% from last weekend. Marvel’s latest did cross the $200 million mark this past week, and with $205.8 million grossed through Sunday, it needs less than $12 million to become the highest grosser of the three “Ant-Man” movies, at least domestically. “Quantumania” added another $3.3 million overseas this weekend, for a global total of $462.6 million. That’s the worst global showing for a Marvel movie since 2021’s trio of pandemic releases, led by “Shang-Chi” with $432.2 million.

Universal’s horror-comedy “Cocaine Bear” dropped to sixth place with an additional $3.9 million (down 38%), bringing its domestic total to $58.5 million.

Lionsgate’s “Jesus Revolution” continues to do well with another $3.5 million in its fourth weekend, bringing its running total to $45.5 million. Lionsgate recently dated another faith-based film, “Ordinary Angels,” starring two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank, for October.

Woody Harrelson‘s sports comedy, “Champions,” took eighth place with $3 million, a 41% drop from its opening weekend with $10.6 million grossed so far.

SEE 2022 box office hits: Every movie that made more than $100 million

Roadside Attractions released Paul Weitz‘s new comedy “Moving On,” starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, into 794 theaters on Friday, and early estimates have it making $2 million, enough to get into the top 10.

A24 wisely re-released its seven-time Oscar-winning “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” into 1,633 theaters nationwide, but the $1.2 million it grossed this weekend was not enough to bring it back into the Top 10. Instead, the two movies that have dominated over the past few months, James Cameron‘s “Avatar: The Way of Water” and DreamWorks’ “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” edged it out with “Avatar” taking 10th place with $1.9 million based on Sunday estimates.

Focus Features released Willem Dafoe‘s one-man isolation thriller “Inside,” directed by Greek filmmaker Vasilis Katsoupis, into 357 theaters on Friday, where it made $470,000 or $1,317 per theater.

Most players in this week’s box office prediction game knew that “Shazam” would win the weekend with slightly fewer players picking $25 to 50 million for said opening weekend. Fourth place picks were split between “Ant-Man” and the correct pick, “65,” while fifth was equally split between “Ant-Man” and “Cocaine Bear,” so we can probably expect fewer players going 6 for 6 this weekend.

As far as the March 10 game, regular scoreboard leaders “MellowDrama” and “Max” were ahead of the dozens of players that went 6 out of 6 with matching 64,742 point scores.

On Friday, Keanu Reeves returns to action for “John Wick: Chapter Four,” and you can read Gold Derby’s weekend preview on Wednesday.

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