Score! LeBron James’ ‘Space Jam’ beats ‘Black Widow’ at No. 1 box office


“Black Widow” took its No. 1 spot in its second week in theaters to an unlikely foe: The Tune Squad.

LeBron James, Bugs Bunny and the rest of the stars of “Space Jam: A New Legacy” dashed hopes and won the weekend box office. As of Sunday, “Space Jam: A New Legacy” grossed $31.7 million in North America, according to studio estimates, while “Black Widow” grossed $26.3 million.

Not many expected that “Space Jam: A New Legacy” would achieve this victory. The poorly reviewed film was pegged to open in the $20 million range. But a significant number of families and millennials who grew up with the original “Space Jam” left home and went to a theater to watch it, even though it was simultaneously streaming free to subscribers on HBO Max. Audiences gave the film a promising A-minus in CinemaScore, suggesting that word of mouth could be stronger.

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“Space Jam: A New Legacy” marks the start of the biggest pandemic ever for Warner Bros., which is significant because in 2021 the studio is releasing all of its films in theaters and on HBO Max at the same time.

This is the biggest domestic debut for a family film since the start of the pandemic. Warner Bros. said 32% of viewers were under the age of 18, which is higher than normal. Most of the major family movies, from “The Boss Baby: Family Business” to “Rae and the Last Dragon,” have opened for well under $20 million during the pandemic. But audiences of all ages turned out to be the new “Space Jam.”

“It shows that families have looked forward to a movie that everyone can go to and this is the movie,” says Jeff Goldstein of Warner Bros. Head of Domestic Distribution. “It’s just a fun movie for the family.”

Lola Bunny (voiced by Zendaya) and LeBron James (as himself) are Tune Squad teammates in "Space Jam: A New Legacy".

“Black Widow,” meanwhile, fell 67% in its second weekend, which, though steep, is also fairly common for superhero movies that are in front of an audience. Internationally, the Scarlett Johansson-led film grossed another $29.9 million, bringing its global gross to $264 million.

Last weekend, “Black Widow” became the highest-grossing film of the pandemic. Disney surprised many in the industry by revealing its first weekend profits from the movie’s streaming rentals (over $60 million). However, rental grosses were not provided this week.

This weekend also saw the launch of “Escape Room: Tournament of Champions,” the sequel to the high-concept 2019 film. The film is estimated to earn $8.8 million over the weekend, which is better than the first film of the year and in line with the studio’s expectations.

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“F9” took fourth place with $7.6 million. The film “Fast and Furious” has so far earned $591.2 million globally. The fifth and sixth places 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 well in 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, raking in nearly $1.9 million from 925 theaters, making it the highest-grossing feature of the year.

The final numbers are expected on Monday.

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