“Civil War,” Starring Wagner Moura, Dominates Box Office and Sets New Records in the USA

In a stunning turn of events, the dystopian thriller “Guerra Civil,” directed by Alex Garland, has emerged victorious at the North American box office, raking in an impressive $25.7 million. This remarkable achievement marks the first time that a film from the independent studio A24 has topped the box office charts in North America, setting a new debut record for the cinematic company.

Moreover, “Guerra Civil” has secured the highest opening for an R-rated film in 2024, surpassing other major blockbuster releases.

Defying Projections Prior to its release, industry projections had anticipated “Guerra Civil” to gross up to $20 million. However, the film exceeded these expectations, becoming A24’s first major hit. Prior to “Guerra Civil,” the horror film “Hereditary” held the studio’s record for the highest opening, with $13.6 million in 2018, placing fourth overall.

For A24, the success of “Guerra Civil” holds particular significance as it represents the studio’s highest investment to date, with a budget of $50 million, in addition to additional costs for marketing and distribution. The film is a bold venture for the independent studio, featuring a cast led by Brazilian actor Wagner Moura, tackling the sensitive subject of political polarization in the United States.

Controversial Theme and Reception The contentious plot of “Guerra Civil” depicts 19 states seceding from the Union, forming an army that clashes with the Eastern states of the USA. Reflecting real-life divisions during the tenure of Donald Trump, the film follows a group of journalists covering the conflicts. Wagner Moura (“Narcos”), Kirsten Dunst (“Melancholia”), and Cailee Spaeny (“Bad Times at the El Royale”) portray the journalists, with screenplay and direction by Alex Garland, known for “Ex Machina” and “Annihilation.”

Critical reception has been largely positive, resulting in an 83% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, audience opinion appears divided, reflecting potential political tensions. A24 has a tradition of producing challenging and polarizing films.

Brazilian Premiere and Reactions The premiere in Brazil is scheduled for Thursday (April 18), one week after the US release. Bolsonaro supporters had planned to boycott the film, primarily due to Wagner Moura, but boycotts have been unsuccessful thus far.

Other Top 5 Highlights “Guerra Civil” stood as the sole major release of the weekend in the USA, with other films in theaters rounding out the box office rankings.

Wagner Moura’s vehicle dethroned “Godzilla vs. Kong: The New Empire” from the top spot after two weeks. In second place, the Warner Bros. and Legendary feature added $15.4 million in its third week, surpassing $157.9 million domestically and $361 million worldwide.

“Ghostbusters: Ice Apocalypse” held steady in third place with $5.3 million after four weeks in theaters, while “Kung Fu Panda 4” climbed to fourth place with $5.2 million in its sixth weekend. “Dune: Part Two” returned to the Top 5 with $4.3 million in its seventh weekend, solidifying itself as the highest-grossing film of 2024.