Box Office: Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum’s ‘The Lost City’ Takes Down ‘The Batman’ With $31 Million Debut

Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum’s screwball romantic comedy “The Lost City” collected $31 million at North American theaters over the weekend, a promising sign that Netflix hasn’t completely seized on the meet-cute market.

Of course, Paramount, which is behind “The Lost City,” did not rely only on positive reviews — or the tease of Tatum’s bare behind — to fuel ticket sales. The on-screen chemistry between Bullock and Tatum, who were inescapable on social media, billboards and in trailers while promoting the film, were key in getting audiences to cinemas. That’s a huge accomplishment in an era where familiar franchises have been dictating commercial success (at least, compared to the promise of A-list stars). At the same time, “The Lost City,” an original adventure that has been described as “Romancing the Stone” meets “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” indicates that romantic comedies haven’t entirely fallen out of favor with moviegoers.

“This is an excellent opening,” says David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “Romantic comedies have been in decline for a dozen years, well before the pandemic. The combination of big cast plus crowd-pleasing romance plus comedy plus adventure has worked before, and it’s working again.”

“The Lost City” cost $68 million, which is fairly expensive for a rom-com. But Bullock and Tatum get compensated handsomely to headline in movies, and filming the explosion-heavy “The Lost City” on location in the Dominican Republic during COVID-19 did not come cheap. That price tag does not include the serious coin spent to market the movie, which premiered at South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin earlier this month.

Aaron and Adam Nee directed “The Lost City,” an amorous action-adventure that takes place on a remote tropical jungle. The story follows Bullock as Loretta Sage, a middle-aged author who gets kidnapped by an eccentric billionaire (Harry Potter himself Daniel Radcliffe, in a villainous role) in the hopes she can discover the ancient lost city’s treasure from her latest story. Ticket buyers were mostly receptive to “The Lost City,” which landed a “B+” CinemaScore.

At the domestic box office, “The Lost City” took down reigning champion “The Batman,” which held the No. 1 spot for three weekends in a row. The superhero adventure, starring Robert Pattinson, took in $20 million between Friday and Sunday, a solid haul considering the movie has already been playing in theaters for a month. “The Batman” has generated $332 million in North America to date.

More to come…

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