Shazam! takes over North American box office chart

DC Comics blockbuster Shazam! has debuted atop the North American box office with a healthy $53.5 million (£41 million) opening. The movie adaptation, about a troubled orphan who transforms into a grown-up superhero named Shazam, played by Zachary Le…

DC Comics blockbuster Shazam! has debuted atop the North American box office with a healthy $53.5 million (£41 million) opening.

The movie adaptation, about a troubled orphan who transforms into a grown-up superhero named Shazam, played by Zachary Levi, was well received by critics in the lead up to its launch, and fans around the world decided to check out the film during its first weekend, helping its global gross to swell to $155.5 million (£119.4 million).

The strong showing easily helped Shazam! defeat Pet Sematary, a horror remake of Stephen King’s 1989 original, although it still proved to be a popular pick with cinema-goers.

With a $25 million (£19.2 million) debut, Pet Sematary, starring Jason Clarke and John Lithgow, becomes the second best opening for a King adaptation, behind the megahit that was the It revamp in 2017, when it debuted with a monster $123.4 million (£94.7 million) take.

The new releases outshone Disney’s live-action Dumbo, which places third on the new countdown, having only garnered $18.2 million (£14 million) in its second weekend in theatres.

Jordan Peele’s horror film Us is at four, ahead of another superhero blockbuster, Captain Marvel, which rounds out the top five at five.

The Marvel movie has grossed $374.1 million (£287.1 million) domestically in the five weeks since its launch, helping to lift the Brie Larson project past the $1 billion mark at the global box office earlier in the week (03Apr19), making it the ninth top-grossing live action comic book adaptation in cinema history.

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Pet Sematary producer felt Stephen King story change was necessary

Producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura has defended his decision to change Stephen King’s Pet Sematary storyline and kill off an eight-year-old girl in the new film. In King’s 1983 book and the 1989 film adaptation, the Creed family’s two-year-old son, Gage,…

Producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura has defended his decision to change Stephen King’s Pet Sematary storyline and kill off an eight-year-old girl in the new film.

In King’s 1983 book and the 1989 film adaptation, the Creed family’s two-year-old son, Gage, is killed in a traffic accident, but in the remake it’s daughter Ellie who dies and is resurrected.

The change has been criticised by some fans, and Di Bonaventura admits he was worried it would lead to a wave of backlash – but, ultimately, he’s glad the decision was made to kill off an older child.

“For the audience that knows the book or the movie, it should have some shock effect,” he says. “But it also allowed us to delve deeper into the idea of evil and discuss some existential ideas that you can’t do with a child who is pretty much preverbal.”

King has given the story change and the new film the thumbs up, and Jason Clarke, who plays Dr. Louis Creed – the father in the new movie, is relieved.

“In the emails that I’ve seen, King understands that his work has to be interpreted,” Jason told The Hollywood Reporter. “There’s no way just to do a straight adaptation of his book. The directors had to make it their own, which I think they’ve done.

“It’s wonderful to have that dialogue. It must be great for him to see his books be interpreted still, 30 to 40 years after they’ve been written.”

Pet Sematary, which also stars John Lithgow and Amy Seimitz, hits cinemas in North America on Friday (05Apr19).

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Jason Clarke relieved Stephen King approves of Pet Sematary remake

Jason Clarke was relieved to learn that author Stephen King approved of the Pet Sematary remake.King’s 1983 horror novel was first adapted for the big screen in 1989, and it has now undergone the remake treatment, with the Australian actor playing Dr. …

Jason Clarke was relieved to learn that author Stephen King approved of the Pet Sematary remake.

King’s 1983 horror novel was first adapted for the big screen in 1989, and it has now undergone the remake treatment, with the Australian actor playing Dr. Louis Creed, who moves to a new home with his family and discovers a mysterious burial ground hidden in the woods behind it.

In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Jason said he felt relieved to read emails in which the renowned horror writer gave his seal of approval, given that King didn’t hold back in voicing his issues with Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of his 1977 novel The Shining.

“Of course, yeah. I like The Shining, and I’m sure Stephen appreciates that movie in some way. In the emails that I’ve seen, King understands that his work has to be interpreted,” Jason explained. “There’s no way just to do a straight adaptation of his book. The directors had to make it their own, which I think they’ve done. It’s wonderful to have that dialogue. It must be great for him to see his books be interpreted still, 30-40 years after they’ve been written.”

The First Man actor read the novel in his teens and was scared by it. Although he was a fan of the source material, Jason had to leave that behind and surrender to the script and his directors, Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer, when it came to the shoot.

“You have to shoot the film in the end; the script is what you’re shooting. It’s easy to make that mistake as an actor: to try and do the source material,” he continued. “If it’s not gonna work for the story that’s going to be told in the cinema, it’s gonna kind of run into a brick wall. So, that’s the director’s job — to guide you.”

However, he recalled a moment when he improvised a line which was inspired by a different character’s piece of dialogue in the novel.

“By understanding the source material, you find ways to bring out more of the book, when you can, while still shooting the script,” he added.

Pet Sematary, which also stars John Lithgow and Amy Seimitz, is due for release in April (19).

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