Queer-Inclusive Relationship Drama Movie “Challengers” Gets Top Box Office Debut!

Challengers Movie 2024 box office
“Challengers” 2024 Movie (Image via Trailer)

The latest box office numbers are in with the R-rated queer-inclusive relationship drama movie Challengers, starring Zendaya, Josh O’Connor, and Mike Faist, taking the top spot with a respectable $15 million debut.

Spoiler Warning: This article contains certain spoilers for Challengers. You have been warned.

Released on April 26, 2024, in the USA and directed by Luca Guadagnino from a script by Justin Kuritzkes, the live-action Challengers tells the story of a dramatic love triangle that occurs when two childhood best friends Art (Faist) and Patrick (O’Connor) fall for tennis player Tashi (Zendaya). And yes, when I say love triangle, I mean an actual love triangle with all three lead characters being in love with each other.

As an example, there’s a scene in the movie where Tashi encourages Art and Patrick to make out with each other. The young men hesitate at first. However, their hesitation doesn’t last long and we get to see them kissing each other so intensely that Tashi has to intervene and tell them to stop.

Even though they exist in real life and have been around for centuries, narratives featuring throuples (or something similar) are still a tough sell when it comes to Hollywood. That’s why I was interested in seeing how a movie like Challengers would perform at the box office.

While the $15 million debut from 3,477 locations might not seem stellar to some, I do feel that it’s a good opening for such an original movie considering all of the factors at play. Challengers is, after all, an R-rated dramatic queer-inclusive feature film, already limiting its potential audience.

While the Critic and Audience reception has been good, making up for the reported approximately $55 million production budget is going to be a struggle though. As of writing this post, the movie has been able to accumulate close to $25 million worldwide. So, let’s see how it fares financially down the line.

As for where that $55 million was spent compared to what was presented onscreen? Don’t ask me. Personally, I wouldn’t have let the production budget get that high for such an “artsy” film. But I don’t know what might have transpired behind the scenes. So, oh well.

Hopefully, Challengers will perform better when it hits streaming services and other home release platforms. There’s early chatter about award recognition. But, as of now, I will be very surprised if it continues being brought up once we get closer to award season.

Now, do I recommend watching Challengers?

I sure do. It’s a very messy yet enjoyable dramatic look at the intense relationship that forms between Art, Patrick, and Tashi.

And for those worried about the R-rating, don’t be. Surprisingly, there’s not a lot of complete nudity in the film. I think the R-rating is because of the movie’s overall “sexy” nature instead of any actual explicit content.

As for the rest of the box office, there was a big gap between the top and following positions. The faith-based film Unsung Hero came in at second place with $7.7 million from 2,832 locations.

The highly enjoyable Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire collected $7.2 million to bring the domestic gross to $181.7 million and the global tally to more than $519 million.

Civil War made $7 million, pushing the domestic haul to $56.2 million.

Abigail was at number 5 with $5.2 million. The domestic gross for Abigail currently stands at $18.8 million. I highly recommend you consider watching this horror/comedy vampire movie. It’s so good!

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare was at number 6 with $3.8 million. I was quite surprised by the queer content in that particular movie.

Another new release Boy Kills World failed to perform well at the box office, collecting around $1.6 million from less than 2,000 locations and coming in at number 10.

The re-release of Alien (1979) managed to make a wave by getting approximately $1.5 million. 

Yeah, the box office isn’t doing so well.

Anyway, did you watch Challengers? What did you think of it?

Let us know.

(via Variety)

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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