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Box office: ‘Shazam!’ continues spring thaw with $53.5-million debut; ‘Pet Sematary’ lands at No. 2

FILM-SHAZAM
Zachary Levi and Jack Dylan Grazer in “Shazam!”
(Warner Bros.)

Superhero season, which began this year in March with Disney’s “Captain Marvel” and concludes in July with the studio’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” welcomed its first DC Comics entry this weekend as Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema’s “Shazam!” opened in first place at the box office.

The film earned $53.5 million over the weekend, above analyst predictions of $40 million to $45 million, plus $3.3 million in advance screenings for a cumulative $56.8 million, according to estimates from measurement firm Comscore. Internationally, the film earned $102 million for a global gross of $158.8 million.

“Shazam!” follows Billy Batson (Asher Angel), a foster teen who transforms into a fully grown superhero (Zachary Levi) when he says the magic word. The $98-million movie earned positive reviews with an A rating on CinemaScore and a 91% “fresh” rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, among the best reviews yet for a DC Universe film.

The picture performed on par with fellow low-profile superhero origin movies like “Ant-Man,” which earned $57.2 million in 2015, but below “Aquaman,” DC’s most recent entry, which opened with $68 million in December.

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In second place, Paramount’s “Pet Sematary” remake opened with $25 million. The result is the second best opening for a Stephen King adaptation behind 2017’s “It,” which opened with $123.4 million.

The $21-million movie earned mixed reviews from audiences and critics with a C-plus CinemaScore rating and a 61% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Disney’s “Dumbo” landed in third place, adding $18.2 million in its second weekend (a 60% drop) for a cumulative $76.3 million. Internationally, it earned $39.6 million for a global cumulative of $213.8 million.

At No. 4, Universal’s “Us” added $13.8 million in its third weekend (a 58% drop) for a cumulative $152.4 million. It has earned $216.6 million worldwide.

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Rounding out the top five, “Captain Marvel” added $12.7 million in its fifth weekend for a cumulative $374.1 million and has surpassed $1 billion in global grosses.

Also new this week, STX Entertainment’s “The Best of Enemies” opened in sixth place with an underwhelming $4.5 million.

Starring Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell as a civil rights activist and Ku Klux Klan leader who form an unlikely friendship, the film earned mixed reviews with an A CinemaScore rating and a 52% “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

In limited release, A24 opened “High Life” in four locations with $100,028, for a per-screen average of $25,007. It earned an 89% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Neon opened the Aretha Franklin documentary “Amazing Grace” in eight locations with $96,000, for a per-screen average of $12,000. The film, which earned $111,389 during an awards qualifying run in December, has grossed $207,389 to date. It earned a 98% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

This week, Universal opens the Marsai Martin-produced comedy “Little,” Lionsgate debuts a “Hellboy” reboot, Aviron reveals the drama “After” and United Artists Releasing premieres the animated adventure “Missing Link.” In limited release, Bleecker Street opens the Elle Fanning drama “Teen Spirit.”

sonaiya.kelley@latimes.com

follow me on twitter @sonaiyak

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