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Space Jam Outplays Black Widow

Families turn out to give studio its biggest opening of the pandemic
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 18, 2021 11:35 AM CDT

(Newser) Black Widow ceded its No. 1 spot to an unlikely foe in its second week in theaters: the Tune Squad. LeBron James, Bugs Bunny and the rest of the stars of Warner Bros.' Space Jam: A New Legacy defied expectations and won the box office this weekend. According to studio estimates Sunday, the film grossed $31.7 million in North America, while Black Widow took in $26.3 million. Space Jam: A New Legacy received poor reviews and was pegged for an opening in the $20 million range, the AP reports. But a sizable number of families and millennials who grew up with the original Space Jam left home and went to a theater to see it, though it’s currently streaming on HBO Max free for subscribers. Not only that, audiences gave the film a promising A- CinemaScore, suggesting word of mouth could be strong. It was the largest pandemic opening for Warner Bros., which is significant because the studio in 2021 is releasing all its films simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max.

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It also was the largest domestic opening for a family film since the beginning of the pandemic, with audiences of all ages turning out. "It shows that families have waited for a movie that everyone can go to, and that’s this movie,” said Jeff Goldstein of Warner Bros. Black Widow, meanwhile fell 67% in its second weekend. Internationally, the Scarlett Johansson-led film picked up another $29.9 million, bringing its global grosses to $264 million. This weekend also saw the launch of Escape Room: Tournament of Champions, a sequel to the high-concept 2019 film. Sony is projecting that the film will gross $8.8 million over the weekend. F9 took fourth place with $7.6 million. The Fast & Furious film has made $591.2 million globally to date. The fifth and sixth place spots also went to Universal films: The Boss Baby: Family Business with $4.7 million and The Forever Purge, with $4.1 million. The Anthony Bourdain documentary Roadrunner also did well this weekend, grossing around $1.9 million from 925 theaters, making it the top-grossing specialty debut of the year.

(Read more box office stories.)

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