This weekend at the box-office saw the clash of two pop culture brand’s with the DC superhero Shazam! and the Stephen King adaptation Pet Sematary. Although a lesser known comic entity from the DC vault, the Big (1988) inspired Shazam! directed by horror helmer David F. Sandberg (Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation) and starring Zachary Levi (T.V’s Chuck), rose to the top of the box-office after a heroic $20 million-plus on Friday and a stellar Saturday hold of $19.5 million. (In fact, for those who helped to make Shazam! the number one film at the box office this weekend with a $53 million-plus take, an Annabelle easter-egg could be spotted early on in the film.) Although a departure from horror for director David F. Sandberg, this Amblin-esque throwback comes to the big screen with a combination of light-hearted kid fun and 80s inspired thrills and haunting imagery. All of this was embraced by audiences who gave the film a A cinemascore, which bodes well for this family friendly DC entry as Avengers: Endgame fast approaches.
Coming in second place this weekend and playing to a non-Shazam! audience was the latest Stephen King adaptation, Pet Sematary. The second adaptation of Stephen King’s 1983 novel of the same title, this telling came to local multiplexes with a slight air of controversy over the altering of a character plot-point from the novel, revealed to audiences during the extended trailer. Whereas in the novel and original 1989 film directed by Mary Lambert, the toddler son of protagonist Dr. Louis Creed is killed and returns after being buried in a mystical pet cemetery, the new film highlights the death and resurrection of Dr. Creed’s adolescent daughter. This alteration that allowed for directors Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer to generate a more horror-rich performance from the young actors, didn’t hurt the modestly budgeted adaptation. With a production budget of $21 million US, the Paramount release garnered a weekend opening of $25 million.
Never expected to reach the heights of IT from September 2017, the opening weekend of Pet Sematary sits as the second best opening for a Stephen King adaptation. Looking ahead at the box-office potential for the film, the title seems to be aligned with the remake The Evil Dead, which opened in theatres April 5, 2013. The Evil Dead opened at number one at the box-office with nearly $26 million and ended its theatrical run with nearly $55 million in ticket sales.
In regards to holdovers, Tim Burton’s Dumbo fell considerably to just over $18 million in its second weekend, while US and Captain Marvel continue to perform with $13 and $12 million, respectively.