By Agence France-Presse
Lighthearted superhero tale “Shazam!” held on to top spot on its second weekend, taking an estimated $24.5 million as it kept a flurry of newcomers at bay, industry figures showed Monday.
The family-friendly Warner Bros. flick stars Asher Angel as Billy Baston, an unhappy foster kid who is transformed into a muscular, wise-cracking adult superhero (Zachary Levi) when anyone pronounces the secret word.
The film has been a hit with critics and audiences, scoring 90 and 88 percent respectively on movie ratings website Rotten Tomatoes and international ticket sales hitting $163 million.
Universal’s new release “Little” — another body-swap comedy, this time with a grown-up trapped in her teenage self — was runner-up with $15.4 million on its opening weekend, according to industry tracker Exhibitor Relations, playing particularly well with female and African American audiences.
Child star Marsai Martin, who has been in popular ABC sitcom “Black-ish” for five years, pitched the idea for the movie when she was just 10 after being inspired by 1980s hit “Big,” starring Tom Hanks, in which a child becomes trapped in his adult body.
Martin, 14, is the youngest producer ever on a major Hollywood production and plays the younger version of Regina Hall.
In third spot was fellow newcomer “Hellboy,” which posted a disappointing $12 million for distributor Lionsgate against expectations of $17-$20 million.
The rebooted superhero movie, directed by Neil Marshall and starring “Stranger Things” actor David Harbour, was panned by critics who complained about its lack of cohesion and compared it unfavorably to Guillermo del Toro’s 2004 and 2008 entries starring Ron Perlman.
Horror film “Pet Sematary” — a remake of the 1989 film based on the Stephen King book — took fourth place with an estimated $9.7 million.
Fifth went to Disney’s “Dumbo,” at $9.4 million. The Tim Burton remake of the 1941 film tells the story of a small elephant with huge ears and a powerful desire to be reunited with his mama.
Rounding out the weekend’s top 10 were:
“Captain Marvel” ($8.6 million)
“Us” ($6.8 million)
“After” ($6 million)
“Missing Link” ($5.9 million)
“The Best of Enemies” ($2 million)