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‘Shazam!’ Flying to $50 Million Opening, ‘Pet Sematary’ Digs Up Second

Shazam!” is showing respectable box office power, heading for as much as a $50 million opening weekend while “Pet Sematary” will wind up around $22 million, early estimates showed Friday.

The numbers are at the top end of recent forecasts for both. Warner Bros.’ “Shazam!” has been expected to wind up between $45 million to $50 million domestically at 4,217 locations and Paramount’s “Pet Sematary” remake was predicted to wind up in the $20 million range.

Disney’s second weekend of “Dumbo” is seeing a steep decline of about 62% to the $16 million to $17 million range. The third weekend of Universal’s horror hit “Us” and the fifth frame of Disney’s “Captain Marvel” will battle for fourth in the $15 million range. “Captain Marvel” should wind up the weekend with a 31-day North American total of around $375 million.

STX’s launch of Taraji P. Henson-Sam Rockwell drama “The Best of Enemies” will come in line with expectations with around $6 million at 1,705 sites.

“Shazam!” also debuts internationally this weekend with $16.4 million first-day take in China and $17 million from the first two days in 48 other markets. The DC Comics adventure centers on Billy Batson (Asher Angel), a teenager who can transform into a cheerful superhero (Zachary Levi) when someone says the magic word.

David F. Sandberg directing “Shazam!,” which has received strong critical support, earning a 92% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes as reviewers praised its departure from the self-importance of the genre. Variety’s Owen Gleiberman wrote, “‘Shazam!’ … is just a light, funny, grounded, engagingly unpretentious sleight-of-hand action comedy about a boy in a (super)man’s body.”

“Shazam!” is a somewhat lower-cost gamble for DC Entertainment following “Wonder Woman” and “Aquaman.” Warner Bros. spent $80 million to produce “Shazam!,” roughly half of what it cost to make “Aquaman” and “Wonder Woman.”

“Pet Sematary,” based on Stephen King’s horror novel, premiered as the closing-night film at SXSW and is debuting with a 71% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It stars Jason Clarke as Dr. Louis Creed in the story of a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the Maine woods near the family’s new home. Amy Seimetz and John Lithgow also star. The film comes three decades after the original adaptation of the King classic. “Starry Eyes” helmers Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer directed the movie.

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