‘Space Jam’ dunks on ‘Black Widow’ to take box office No. 1

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This image released by Warner Bros. Entertainment shows Lebron James in a scene from “Space Jam: A New Legacy.” (Warner Bros. Entertainment via AP)

“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, “Space Jam: A New Legacy” grossed $31.7 million in North America, while “Black Widow” took in $26.3 million.

Not many expected “Space Jam: A New Legacy” to pull off this win. The poorly reviewed film was pegged for an opening in the $20 million range. But a sizable number of families and millennials who grew up with the original “Space Jam” left the house and went to a theater to see it, even though it’s currently streaming on HBO Max free for subscribers. Not only that, audiences also gave the film a promising A- CinemaScore, suggesting word of mouth could be strong.

“Space Jam: A New Legacy” is the largest pandemic opening for Warner Bros.

It’s also the largest domestic opening for a family film since the beginning of the pandemic. Warner Bros. said 32% of the audience was under 18, which is larger than usual. Most of the major family films that have come out during the pandemic — from “The Boss Baby: Family Business” to “Raya and the Last Dragon” — have opened well under $20 million. But audiences of all ages turned out for the new “Space Jam.”

“It shows that families have waited for a movie that everyone can go to and that’s this movie,” said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros.’ head of domestic distribution. “It’s just a fun movie for the family.”

“Black Widow,” meanwhile fell 67% in its second weekend, which, although steep, is also fairly normal for superhero films, which tend to have frontloaded audiences. 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, which is actually better than the first film’s debut and in line with studio expectations.

“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.

“A Quiet Place Part II,” which recently became available on Paramount+, is still doing good numbers into its eighth week in theaters. It added another $2.3 million, bringing its domestic total to $155 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.

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