Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Box Office: “Challengers” Not Making Expected Racquet With $4 Mil Friday As Audiences Ambivalent


Where are all the Zendaya fans?

Where is the younger generation of movie goers who were supposed to be into fluid relationships?

Where are the tennis fans?

“Challengers” is the biggest film project shot in and about New Rochelle, New York since “The Dick van Dyke Show.” But audiences seem ambivalent.

“Challengers” made $4 million last night, after taking in $1.9 million on Thursday in previews. That equals a $6 million opening and a $14 million opening weekend.

Luca Guadagnino’s rom-drama cost $55 million! The Cinemascore is B+ and the Rotten Tomatoes audience score is just 75%, which equals a C. This is not the grand slam that was predicted for this sex filled, hang wringer.

Publicity has suggested a little three way action between Zendaya, Josh O’Connor, and Mike Faist’s characters. But once audiences got into theaters they might have been a little surprised about the relationship between the male characters. They have a major make out scene, not to mention a final scene that suggests they’re the ones who get together in the end.

Maybe audiences aren’t as 21st century as we thought. Young people liked conventional rom com “Anyone But You.” They’re going to love “Hit Man.”

Meantime, kudos to Variety’s Steve Gaydos who had a good alternative title for “Challengers” on Twitter: “Jules and Gym.”

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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