Challengers scores $1.9 million at the box office in early previews

Zendaya continues to explore more adult-themed projects outside of the Spider-Man franchise. Her latest is expected to win this weekend’s box office.

Last Updated on May 17, 2024


Luca Guadagnino isn’t exactly known for mainstream box office success, with credits on his resume like Call Me By Your Name, Suspiria and Bones and All. However, you take a young rising star like Zendaya and create a sexy love triangle around her in a sports setting, then as the late great Carl Weathers would say, “Baby, you got a stew going!” Guadagnino’s sports romance drama, Challengers, would open to $1.9 million at the box office in Thursday night previews.

According to Variety, while the R-rated film isn’t going to bust any blocks, as romance dramas rarely do, but the Amazon MGM movie is expected to win the weekend with an estimated $12 million to $15 million gross. Challengers is expected to overtake Civil War for the number one spot at the box office for the week. Civil War would enjoy two weeks at the top, becoming the biggest earner for the boutique production studio A24. Challengers has been well-reviewed by critics, sporting a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, although no audience score has been set yet.

Our own Tyler Nichols gave the film a favorable review, saying, “Where the film impresses the most is in its small moments between the characters. Information is relayed in such a believable way that every emotion hits hard. Whether it’s a simple glance or lack thereof, so much is said without words. Then the narrative, being bandied about like a jigsaw puzzle, comes together in a satisfying way. There’s a lot to break down and infer and each new scene changes the texture of those that came before it.” You can read the rest of his thoughts HERE.

The official synopsis from MGM reads,
“From visionary filmmaker Luca Guadagnino, Challengers stars Zendaya as Tashi Duncan, a former tennis prodigy turned coach and a force of nature who makes no apologies for her game on and off the court. Married to a champion on a losing streak (Mike Faist – West Side Story), Tashi’s strategy for her husband’s redemption takes a surprising turn when he must face off against the washed-up Patrick (Josh O’Connor – The Crown) – his former best friend and Tashi’s former boyfriend. As their pasts and presents collide, and tensions run high, Tashi must ask herself, what will it cost to win.”

Luca Guadagnino directs a script from writer Justin Kuritzkes. Executive producers on the film include Bernard Bellew, Lorenzo Mieli and Kevin Ulrich. In addition to starring in the film, Zendaya is also on board as a producer, and she’s joined by Amy Pascal, the film’s director Luca Guadagnino and Rachel O’Connor. The theatrically released film has been rated R for “language throughout, some sexual content and graphic nudity.”

Source: Variety

About the Author

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E.J. is a News Editor at JoBlo, as well as a Video Editor, Writer, and Narrator for some of the movie retrospectives on our JoBlo Originals YouTube channel, including Reel Action, Revisited and some of the Top 10 lists. He is a graduate of the film program at Missouri Western State University with concentrations in performance, writing, editing and directing.