7:30am PT by Pamela McClintock
Box Office: 'Shazam!' Powers to $20.5M Friday; 'Pet Sematary' Unearths $10M
New Line and DC's kid-friendly superhero pic Shazam! zoomed to an impressive $20.5 million at the Friday box office for a projected domestic debut of $51 million to $54 million.
The movie had already earned $3.3 million in sneaks heading into the weekend. Overseas, Shazam! is likewise off to a strong start, earning $44 million through Friday, including an opening day haul of $15.3 million in China.
The seventh title in the DC Extended Universe stars Asher Angel as Billy Batson, a teenager who only has to utter the word "Shazam!" to be transformed into an adult superhero, played by Zachary Levi.
Mark Strong, Grace Fulton, Jack Dylan Grazer and Djimon Hounsou co-star in the film, which was directed by David Sandberg, who helmed the horror hits Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation.
Shazam!, which earned strong reviews and an A- CinemaScore, lured plenty of younger moviegoers on Friday, with 52 percent of ticket buyers under the age of 25. Males made up 66 percent of the audience, according to PostTrak.
Paramount's Pet Sematary, based on the Stephen King novel and a remake of the 1989 adaptation, is also excavating strong numbers in its debut, earning an estimated $10 million on Friday for a projected $23 million-$25 million weekend and a second-place finish. It earned a C+ CinemaScore (horror films often draw a lower grade).
The R-rated pic stars Jason Clarke as Dr. Louis Creed in the story of a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the Maine woods near his family’s new home. Amy Seimetz and John Lithgow also star in Pet Sematary, which made its world premiere at SXSW. Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer directed.
Shazam! appears to be making life tough for holdover Dumbo, which grossed $4.9 million on Friday. The Disney pic looks likely to fall as much as 59 percent in its second weekend with a projected $19 million, putting it at No. 3.
Jordan Peele and Universal's horror hit Us, now in its third weekend, and Disney/Marvel blockbuster Captain Marvel will round out the top five.
That puts the third new offering of the weekend, The Best of Enemies, at No. 6 with an estimated $4.6 million to $5 million after earning $1.6 million on Friday.
From STXfilms, the 1971-set drama stars Taraji P. Henson as a civil rights activist and Sam Rockwell as a member of the Ku Klux Klan who face off over school integration in Durham, North Carolina.
Best of Enemies, from first-time writer-director Robin Bissell, earned an A CinemaScore.