The box office throne now belongs to “The Woman King.” The Sony film is on track to launch with $18 million from 3,765 sites, which aligns with most experts’ predictions heading into the weekend. A significant financial bump came from the epic’s success in securing premium format theatres like Imax.
Even if it’s hardly a massive debut, the action movie, which cost $50 million to make and is unrelated to any other properties, is off to a good start. It’s enough to put “The Woman King” at the top of the box office charts on a low-key weekend with few new releases.
The film “The Woman King,” which one helped finance, made its big debut at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month, receiving much positive attention. Since then, the movie has received mostly positive reviews and has an impressive 94% approval rating on the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes. The chief film critic at Variety, Peter Debruge, said that the picture “embraces the norms of mid-20th-century costume dramas: It’s stirring but slightly stodgy, built to stand the test of time.”
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The reception from audiences, however, has been even more positive, with “The Woman King” receiving an “A+” from the research company Cinema Score, reflecting the exuberant approval of regular moviegoers. Sony expects the film to do well as it continues to play throughout the fall, thanks to positive word of mouth and the lack of competing tentpoles.
Viola Davis plays the title role and serves as producer and executive producer for “The Woman King,” which was directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood. The film is based on the true story of Davis, a powerful general in the all-female military Agojie, who fought to save the West African kingdom of Dahomey. The cast includes John Boyega, Lashana Lynch, Thuso Mbedu, Sheila Atim and Davis.
The horror film “Pearl,” directed by Ti West and released by A24 and set before the events of his 2017 film “X,” also premieres this weekend. The period piece in Technicolor is expected to take in $3.3 million from 2,935 theatres, good enough for third place. About $7 million less than the first weekend of “X,” which brought in $13 million globally.
While “Pearl’s” budget was relatively small at $1 million before marketing, it was shot in secret on the same schedule as Mia Goth’s “X,” which had a much smaller budget. It’s reasonable to assume that “Pearl” was a similar low-budget production; the horror film’s success would require a final gross of at least $10 million, which is entirely possible thanks to the rise of video-on-demand.
The “See How They Run” movie from Searchlight Pictures aims for number four. Opening weekend earnings of $1.08 million from 2,404 sites put the Sam Rockwell and Saoirse Ronan romantic comedy close to its $2.7 million projection. Those aren’t exactly spectacular or profitable statistics for the whodunit, but it’s still impressive that the film made it into cinemas, given that Disney has been increasingly relegating Searchlight productions to Hulu.
The faith-based drama ‘Running the Bases’ also featured baseball and opened in 1,080 theaters. Predictions put the opening weekend take for this UP2U Films production at $510,000. Thandiwe Newton’s “God’s Country,” a western that premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, is expected to earn $262,000 from 785 locations. Released by Fathom Events earlier this week, Kevin Smith’s “Clerks III” is still screening at 800 theaters. Through Sunday, it should have a domestic gross of about $2 million.
There’s also “Confess, Fletch,” starring Jon Hamm and based on a series of mystery novels by Gregory Mcdonald. Paramount is continuing its hybrid release experiment with “Fletch,” following the success of “Orphan: First Kill,” another mystery film that premiered both on video-on-demand and in theaters. The box office results were disappointing, and the studio still hasn’t revealed the home entertainment figures. On its first day, the film earned $96,000, or around $186 per theater.
Second place went to 20th Century Studios’ “Barbarian,” which brought in $1.96 million on its second release day, a drop of 49% from the previous week’s opening day. Despite the hold’s “C+” ranking on CinemaScore, it’s still quite impressive. At the box office, horror films typically perform best early on. Fans of the genre have been talking about “Barbarian” on the internet, and the movie is still getting views. Up to Sunday, it should be able to increase its domestic gross beyond $20 million.
For now, Sony’s “Bullet Train” is the clear frontrunner for fifth place, with an expected $2.6 million take in its seventh weekend. Domestic earnings for the Brad Pitt action flick will reach $96 million by the end of the weekend, inching closer to the magical $100 million threshold.
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