After three weeks of “The Batman,” the domestic box office has a new leader. “The Lost City,” starring Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum, looks to claim the weekend’s top spot with a projected $30 million opening weekend.

Paramount’s adventure rom-com blasted off to $11.5 million from 4,253 locations on its opening day, after grossing $2.5 million in Thursday previews. It’s an impressive start for a release hailing from a genre that hasn’t had the best track record of getting audiences into theaters over the past few years. “Lost City” isn’t your typical rom-com though, boasting a grand jungle setting, a penchant for violence and a sense of scale that could’ve helped convince ticket buyers to perceive the release as an event worth attending.

In “The Lost City,” Bullock plays a romance novelist who is kidnapped by a billionaire (Daniel Radcliffe), who seeks to use her knowledge of an ancient language to find a treasure. Tatum plays the novelist’s hunky cover model who decides to rescue her.

Variety‘s Peter Debruge enjoyed the film, calling it “the kind of breezy two-hour getaway that doesn’t take itself too seriously, delivering screwball banter between Bullock and Tatum — a guilty-pleasure treasure hunt that pretends to be more progressive than it really is by alternating between who’s saving whom.” The film has been amicably received, earning a 76% approval aggregate from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and a “B+” rating on CinemaScore, indicating general approval from audiences. The film carries a sizable production budget of $68 million, so Paramount will keep its fingers crossed for solid word-of-mouth in the coming weeks.

Matt Reeves’ “The Batman” has held a tight grip on theaters for the past three weeks, generating a hefty fraction of domestic box office grosses since its release on March 4. The Warner Bros. release added an additional $5.5 million to its haul on Friday, dropping 49% from its previous Friday. Since debuting, the film has grossed an impressive $316 million from North American theaters to become the second-highest grossing release of the pandemic era. Internationally, the film has exceeded a gross of $600 million.

“The Batman” was an expensive operation for Warner Bros., carrying a production budget that ballooned to $200 million due to production delays during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even so, the DC adaptation starring Robert Pattinson is about as big as any movie could be at the box office, dwarfed only by the supermassive holiday release of “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”

The Indian epic “RRR” is also rocketing off to a healthy North American debut, landing in third place on domestic charts with $5.42 million from 4,517 locations. The Sarigami Cinemas release is expected to drawn $12 million to $15 million in grosses through Sunday — numbers which would make it the biggest ever stateside debut for an Indian film. “RRR”, from “Baahubali” maestro S.S. Rajamouli, had become one of the most eagerly anticipated Bollywood productions of recent years, even through several production and release delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“RRR” stars N. T. Rama Rao Jr. and Ram Charan as two revolutionaries against the British Raj and Nizam of Hyderabad, respectively. The Telugu-Hindi production imagines a friendship between the parallel heroes.

More to come…

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