Zendaya's 'Challengers' Targets $15 Million Box Office Debut

Game, set

Game, set… but there’s not much of a match. “Challengers,” a steamy tennis drama starring Zendaya and directed by Luca Guadagnino, is poised to lead the domestic box office without much in the way of competition. The film, from Amazon MGM, is projected to collect $12 million to $15 million from 3,400 North American theaters in its opening weekend.

Although those are modest projections for any nationwide release, it’s this weekend’s only major new movie and shouldn’t have trouble claiming first place from A24’s “Civil War,” the reigning champion. Last weekend, “Civil War” topped the box office for the second consecutive frame with $11.1 million and has grossed $70 million globally to date. Overall, the domestic box office is 20% behind the same point in 2023, according to Comscore.

The steamy, R-rated “Challengers” was originally slated to premiere at 2023’s Venice Film Festival and hit the big screen last fall. But the studio opted to delay its release to spring because the actors strike prevented Zendaya and her co-stars, “West Side Story” actor Mike Faist and “The Crown” breakout Josh O’Connor, from being able to promote the movie. Now, Zendaya’s tennis-themed red carpet looks have been generating headline after headline. So postponing the movie, at least in terms of bolstering awareness among its target audience of twenty-somethings, may prove to be worth it. “Challengers” carries a significant price tag of roughly $55 million, so Amazon MGM has a lot riding on the box office.

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