‘Challengers’ Leads Quiet Pre-Summer Box Office Weekend With $15.2 Million

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The box office is going through its customary late April slowdown prior to the start of the summer box office in May, though the lack of a major release on the level of pre-COVID hits like “Shazam!” or “The Fate of the Furious” at the start of the month has caused overall grosses to sink lower.

That has allowed Amazon MGM’s “Challengers” to take the No. 1 spot as the only film with more than $10 million grossed this weekend, earning $6.1 million on Friday from 3,477 theaters as industry estimates have it making $15.2 million this weekend, consistent with pre-release projections.

Directed by Luca Guadagnino and starring Zendaya, the mid-level budgeted tennis drama was acquired by Amazon MGM as part of a two-film package with the director’s 2022 horror romance “Bones and All.” In a sign of Zendaya’s drawing power with Gen Z moviegoers, 41% of opening day audiences were from the 18-24 demographic, leading all age groups with the 25-34 demo at 35%. Women made up 58% of moviegoers.

The film has been well received by critics with an 88% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Audience reception isn’t quite as strong but still generally positive with an early 75% audience RT score and a B+ on CinemaScore.

Also opening this weekend is Lionsgate/Kingdom Story Company’s “Unsung Hero,” which is projected to earn $8 million from 2,832 locations. The music biopic about the Christian pop group For King & Country has received mixed reviews with a 56% RT score but has won over the group’s fans with an A+ on CinemaScore.

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