Zendaya’s R-Rated Drama Dethrones Civil War From the Box Office Top

Zendaya’s R-Rated Drama Dethrones Civil War From the Box Office Top
Image credit: Legion-Media

New peculiar movie is now hitting theaters, breaking all the possible prejudices.


  • The Dune actress stars in the sports drama about the love and rivalry between the trio of tennis players, alongside Mike Faist and Josh O'Connor.
  • It is now beating the box office numbers of the political drama Civil War, which reigned in the theaters for the past two weeks.
  • Such a success is surprising as it’s an indie picture about sportsmen.

After this year’s Dune fever, it seems that featuring the names of Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya on the posters is enough to get people buying movie tickets. The Chani actress' new romance drama completely proves it.

The movie’s plot centers on the characters, who are quite specific for the audience, as they are tennis players, so be sure that there will be a lot of aces, volleys, as well as broken rackets. However, luckily, that's not the main point of the movie.

Zendaya here plays Tashi, an ex-player, retired from the big sport after an injury, who is now married to a fading tennis champion (Mike Faist), coaching him and preparing his glowing comeback on the pedestal. The snag is that his future competitor for the gold (Josh O'Connor) is both his former best friend and Tashi’s ex-lover.

Zendaya’s R-Rated Drama Dethrones Civil War From the Box Office Top - image 1

Titled Challengers, it promises to involve a love triangle happening in the obstacles of a heated tournament, which has attracted the Internet users since the start of the movie’s promotion. Obviously, the leading actress’ hyping red carpet looks added to that.

It all resulted in Challengers now leading the domestic box office, grossing $15 million in its opening weekend. At the same time, the recent theaters’ leader, Kirsten Dunst’s Civil War, earned only $11.1 million last weekend, topping the box office for the second time.

Actually, Challengers is not designed for a large audience due to its sports theme and arthouse sheen, as it’s directed by the notorious Luca Guadagnino. His latest movies, Call Me by Your Name (2017) and Bones and All (2022), are known for their emotional complexity and eroticism, as well as for raising the minorities’ issues.

As for tennis films, we remember well how Emma Stone ’s Battle of the Sexes and Will Smith ’s King Richard underperformed at the box office, despite the positive critical reviews and their leads being one of the main movie stars like Zendaya these days.

The new tennis drama promises to be much more successful, both in terms of the box office and the critics’ praise, with a decent 95% of critical acclaim on Rotten Tomatoes.

Challengers is out now in theaters.