“Space Jam: A New Legacy” tops North American box office in opening weekend

Courtesy of Warner Bros./Everett Collection
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LOS ANGELES, (Xinhua) — Warner Bros. Pictures’ animated/live-action sports film “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” starring NBA superstar LeBron James, led ticket sales at the North American box office with an estimated 31.65 million U.S. dollars from 3,965 theaters in its opening weekend, according to studio figures collected by measurement firm Comscore.

The sequel to 1996’s “Space Jam” also opened internationally with 23.01 million dollars in 63 markets this weekend for a global total of 54.66 million dollars.

The four-time NBA MVP James and his young son Dom are trapped in a digital space by a rogue A.I. in the film from director Malcolm D. Lee. He must get them home safe by teaming up with Bugs Bunny and the whole gang of notoriously undisciplined Looney Tunes to victory over the A.I.’s digitized champions on the court.

The film “obviously scored big with parents and their families,” wrote movie analyst Paul Dergarabedian at Comscore in an email to Xinhua, noting that it’s the biggest opening for a family film in North America of the pandemic era.

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Despite a 31 percent certified fresh rating on review-aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes to date, “Space Jam: A New Legacy” was still welcomed by North American moviegoers with an “A-” on CinemaScore.

“Many thanks to the fans!!! We made this for you and reward us with your presence. Thanks for coming back to the movies,” tweeted director Lee Saturday.

James on Saturday also tweeted an article from the Deadline, a leading U.S. entertainment news website, which titled “‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ steals ball away from ‘Black Widow’ with $31M+ opening.”

“Hi Haters!” he wrote in the tweet, along with a broad smile emoji, in an apparent response to the film’s bleak critics’ reviews.

Disney and Marvel Studios’ spy thriller “Black Widow” moved to second place with 26.25 million dollars from 4,275 locations in its second weekend for a North American cume of 132 million dollars.

Directed by Cate Shortland, Scarlett Johansson reprises her role as Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow in the latest Marvel film. She confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.

Another newcomer, Sony’s thriller “Escape Room: Tournament of Champions,” opened in third place with 8.8 million dollars from 2,815 locations this weekend.

“Escape Room: Tournament of Champions” is a sequel to 2019’s “Escape Room.” Directed by Adam Robitel, the film stars Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Indya Moore, Holland Roden, Thomas Cocquerel and Carlito Olivero. In this installment, six people unwittingly find themselves locked in another series of escape rooms, slowly uncovering what they have in common to survive … and discovering they’ve all played the game before.

Universal’s action film “F9: The Fast Saga” landed in fourth place with 7.62 million dollars from 3,368 locations in its fourth weekend. The film has grossed 154.8 million dollars in North America for a worldwide total of 591.2 million dollars through Sunday.

Helmed by Chinese American director Justin Lin, the latest in Vin Diesel’s on-going “Fast & Furious” franchise, his ode to fast cars and faster action, is based on a script co-written by Lin and Daniel Casey, and features an all-star line of Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, John Cena, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jordana Brewster, Sung Kang, and others.

Universal’s release of DreamWorks Animation’s “The Boss Baby: Family Business” finished fifth with 4.72 million dollars from 3,449 locations in its third weekend, pushing its North American total to 44.64 million dollars.

The animated film is a sequel to the 2017 “The Boss Baby.” Directed by returning filmmaker Tom McGrath, the film features the voices of Alec Baldwin, Jeff Goldblum, Ariana Greenblatt, Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow.

The Templeton brothers – Tim and his Boss Baby little bro Ted – have become adults and drifted away from each other in the sequel. But a new boss baby with a cutting-edge approach and a can-do attitude is about to bring them together again and inspire a new family business.