May 22, 2024

Brighton Journal

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The Challengers served $6.2 million on opening day

The Challengers served $6.2 million on opening day

“Challengers” grossed $6.2 million on opening day at 3,477 North American theaters, a figure that includes $1.9 million from previews. Amazon MGM Studios' love triangle drama is set to meet industry expectations with a $15 million debut. The tennis film also generates additional revenue from premium, large-scale auditorium tickets, including some IMAX screens.

The Zendaya starrer will easily shoot above the competition to No. 1 on the local charts — not small potatoes for an R-rated original drama in the age of studio IP addiction. But “Challengers” has a production budget of $55 million, so it will have to keep rising in the summer months to turn a profit in theaters. Reviews were excellent, while early ticket buyers leaned positive with audience polling company Cinema Score giving it a “B+” grade. Amazon MGM has good hype on its side over the coming weeks.

Zendaya stars in “Challengers” as Tashi Duncan, a tennis prodigy who turns to coaching after suffering an injury and finds herself caught between the egos of her husband, played by Mike Faist, and her ex-lover, played by Josh O'Connor. The film is directed by Luca Guadagnino, who has already set up his next film, “After the Hunt,” with Julia Roberts, at Amazon MGM.

Hoping for a runner-up finish, Lionsgate is opening with Kingdom Story's Unsung Hero, a Christian musician biopic about the formation of the pop duo For King & Country. Group member Joel Smallbone co-directs with Richard Ramsay. It earned $3.6 million on opening day from 2,832 theaters and is looking to debut to around $8 million. The film was produced on a shoestring budget of $6 million. Ratings are mediocre, but the religious film's target audience loves it, according to an “A+” Cinema Score.

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Also opening this weekend is Roadside Accommodation, showing Boy Kills World, a comedy starring Bill Skarsgård, in the 1993 theater. Moritz Mohr is directing the film, which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall and has since received middling reviews. She's looking at an opportunity outside the top five, likely not even $2 million. A “B-” on the Cinema Score doesn't exactly portend extended play.

Legendary Entertainment's “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” is also competing for second place, in its fifth weekend. The Warner Bros. release achieved success. $1.7 million on Friday, Down 25% from a week ago. The blockbuster is expected to gross more than $180 million this weekend, still behind Universal's “Kung Fu Panda 4” for the title of second-highest-grossing North American release of the year so far.

A24's “Civil War” also has a shot at the top three, with industry rivals anticipating $6.6 million for the three-day frame. The Alex Garland-directed dystopian thriller has now grossed $50 million in North America. Globally, it's already one of A24's top five films of all time, and is sure to surpass “Lady Bird” ($80 million) and “Hereditary” ($81 million). The top two indie films are horror film “Talk to Me” ($92 million) and Oscar winner “Everything Everywhere at Once” ($111 million).

Universal's vampire film “Abigail” appears to be slipping to fifth place, forecasting a 51% drop from its opening weekend. The horror drama is looking for a 10-day domestic tally of $18 million. With a production budget of $28 million, the film fell short of expectations.

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