By Rebecca Rubin
LOS ANGELES, Jul 18 (Variety.com) – Animation reigned on the billboard and at the box office this weekend with an upset victory for “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” in which LeBron James teams up with the team of the Looney Tunes, which won with $ 31.6 million in ticket sales.
Warner Bros’ sequel to 1996’s “Space Jam” exceeded forecasts, which predicted that the film would earn about $ 20 million in its first three days of release.
Critics rejected “Space Jam: A New Legacy” (it averages 31% on Rotten Tomatoes), but audiences seemed to embrace the film, giving it an “A-” CinemaScore. “Space Jam 2” was screened in 3,965 theaters in North America, concurrently with HBO Max at no additional cost to subscribers.
“The marketing for this movie was really fun, and it helped alert audiences around the world,” said Jeff Goldstein, president of national distribution for Warner Bros.
The better-than-expected start of “Space Jam 2” has displaced last weekend’s champion, Disney and Marvel’s “Black Widow,” to second at the box office.
The superhero adventure, starring Scarlett Johansson, grossed $ 26.3 million in its second weekend, a whopping 67% drop. So far, “Black Widow” has generated $ 131 million in North America and $ 264 million worldwide.
Despite concerns about the Delta variant and its hybrid premiere on HBO Max, “Space Jam: A New Legacy” scored the biggest debut for a family film during COVID.
“Space Jam 2”, which comes 26 years after the original, is the first film in a long time to draw viewers with children back to theaters. Men accounted for 53% of sales, while 52% of ticket buyers were under the age of 25.
(Edited in Spanish by Javier López de Lérida)