7:21am PT by Pamela McClintock
Box Office: 'Shazam!' Zooms to $6M in Thursday Previews
New Line and DC's kid-friendly Shazam! zoomed to a big $5.9 million in Thursday previews at the North American box office, where it's tipped to win the weekend with $45 million to $55 million.
Previews began at 4 p.m., versus the usual 7 p.m. And including previous sneaks, the film has already taken in $9.2 million. Overseas, in 53 markets, Shazam! has grossed $15.7 million over the past two days.
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! is expected to play young despite its PG-13 rating, and could pose tough competition for holdover Dumbo, rated PG. It easily topped Thursday's chart ahead of Dumbo, which earned an estimated $2.2 million. Jordan Peele's hit horror pic Us wasn't far behind, with an estimated $2 million.
Pet Sematary, based on the Stephen King novel and a remake of the 1989 pic, should also open to pleasing numbers this weekend for Paramount with $20 million-plus after earning $2.3 million in Thursday previews.
The R-rated horror pic 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 in Pet Sematary, which made its world premiere at SXSW. Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer directed.
The third new offering of the weekend is STXfilms' civil rights drama The Best of Enemies, a 1971-set drama starring 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, is tracking to open in the single digits after earning $265,000 in previews.