LeBron James is king of the box office this weekend, where Space Jam: A New Legacy is doing better than expected with its domestic debut reaching $32 million from 3,956 theaters, easily enough to bench holdover Black Widow.
The big-budget sequel to the 1996 classic movie grossed $13.2 million on Friday (July 16), while Black Widow fell a huge 80 percent to $8 million on its second Friday for a projected sophomore outing in the $26 million-$27 million range from 4,275 locations.
Space Jam 2 is on course to score the biggest opening for a family title in the pandemic-era despite poor reviews, growing concerns over the Delta variant and new mask mandates in L.A. County that kick in at midnight Saturday.
Heading into the weekend, Warner Bros. expected Space Jam 2 to open in the $20 million range. That would have been a problematic start for a movie that cost a reported $150 million to make. The film is being buoyed by an A- CinemaScore and an ethnically diverse audience.
The live-action/animated movie is also available on HBO Max. (Black Widow is likewise playing in the home via Disney Premier Access.)
In Space Jam 2, Brown encounters a plethora of classic Warner Bros. characters. Michael Jordan starred in the first Space Jam, which debuted to roughly $27 million without adjusting for inflation.
Black Widow is facing a huge drop in is second weekend of 65 percent-70 percent. The Marvel pic will still come in No. 2, followed by Sony’s Escape Room: Champion of Tournaments. The sequel opened to $3.8 million on Friday for projected $8.7 million weekend.
At the specialty box office, the new documentary Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain will make the top 10 with a projected weekend opening of $1.7 million or more for Focus Features after earning $760,000 on Friday from 927 theaters.
The doc about the famous chef, who died in 2018, sparked a debate over ethical issues last week when director Morgan Neville revealed he had used artificial intelligence to create a version of Bourdain’s voice for about 45 seconds.
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.