'Challengers' Sweeps Box Office with $15 Million, Become Luca Guadagnino's Highest-Grossing Film

Movie theaters witnessed a different type of drama this weekend, with the sexual romantic drama film 'Challengers' taking the box office by storm. Estimates suggest the film made $15 million in ticket sales since its debut on Friday.

The film, directed by Italian director Luca Guadagnino, opened in 3,477 locations across the United States and Canada after a globetrotting press tour by lead actors Zendaya, Mike Faist, and Josh O'Connor. Women made up 58% of ticket buyers, with 41% of viewers aged 18 to 24. Large-format screens accounted for 40% of the weekend's gross.

The press tour notably showcased several tennis-themed outfits created by celebrity stylist Law Roach. Kevin Wilson, who heads theatrical distribution for Amazon Studios and MGM, credited the film's marketing and publicity teams with helping to create a viral fashion moment.

Wilson said scrapping the film's original premiere at the Venice Film Festival last year and moving it to this weekend, after the actors' strike, was crucial to its success. ''Challengers' would be the first real test of her ability to 'open' a film on her own star."

Luca Guadagnino's previous film, 'Bones and All,' made $15.2 million in its entire run. By midweek, 'Challengers' is expected to surpass 'Call Me By Your Name' ($18 million) to become Guadagnino's highest-grossing film.

Faith-based film 'Unsung Hero,' which told the story of the rise of the Smallbone family and their children Rebecca St. James and sons Joel and David (for KING + COUNTRY) in the country music scene, made an estimated $7.8 million from 2,832 locations in second place. The Lionsgate film, made for $6 million, scored a rare A+ CinemaScore and a 100% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

'Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire' took third place with $7.2 million in its fifth weekend, A24's 'Civil War' made $7 million in its third weekend, bringing its domestic total to $56.2 million, and horror movie 'Abigail' rounded out the top five with $5.3 million.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore, said April 2024 provided an opportunity for interesting, innovative, and critically acclaimed films to be at the top of the box office. "It was a great month for moviegoers looking for something beyond the typical summer blockbusters," Dergarabedian said.

Next weekend, the summer movie season kicks off with the Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt action-comedy 'The Fall Guy.'

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