‘Don’t Worry Darling’ Scores Best Opening In Five Weekends With $19.2 Million, ‘Avatar’ Brings In Another $10 Million In Re-Release
This is another weekend that would have been the weakest in decades before the pandemic but was relatively solid in the terms of the current post-summer box office slump. With an overall box office of $59.7 million (up 17% from last weekend), this is the biggest weekend in over a month, the first time since July there were three movies over $10 million, and “only” the ninth lowest grossing weekend of the year. The tentpoles won’t begin to arrive for another three weekends to lift the overall numbers back up, but individual films are generally performing solidly, if not exceptionally. In other words, though the main events are missing, the counterprogramming is doing well. This weekend and the previous weekend both had newcomers opening to nearly $20 million and saw none of the holdovers in the top ten fall more than 42%, and while the overall numbers are still dismal by normal standards, the drought-era is not as bad as many had expected.

The weekend’s big newcomer Don’t Worry Darling certainly opened well with $19.2 million, just ahead of last weekend’sThe Woman King ($19.05 million) to become the top opener of the past five weekends. Warner Bros. launched the Olivia Wilde-directed film in 4,668 theaters, and it has been dominating headlines for all sorts of supposed behind the scenes drama. However, the major box office draw was likely the rabid fanbase of music star Harry Styles, who is in his first major film role after debuting in a smaller part in Dunkirk, and women made up 71% of the audience. Florence Pugh leads in the 1950s suburbia-set psychological thriller, and the supporting cast also includes Wilde, Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne, Nick Kroll, and Chris Pine.

Though the opening is not a knockout, it's a solid start for the $35 million budgeted film. The global total is $30 million, having opened in 61 overseas markets. Unfortunately, the film proved to be heavily frontloaded over the weekend after its strong $9.55 million Friday (including Thursday previews). Compare this to The Woman King, which had a near identical opening weekend with a Friday plus previews gross of $6.82 million. Hopefully that isn’t indicative of subsequent weekends, but we won’t really get a sense of its legs for a few more weeks. Audiences and critics were mixed on the film (B- CinemaScore and 38% Tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes), so legs like the similarly female skewing Where the Crawdads Sing are a longshot (that film has grossed $89.6 million domestically off a $17.3 million opening), but it should be able to make up much of its budget theatrically.

Last weekend’s number one The Woman King had a nice hold as expected, coming in second place in its second weekend with $11.1 million, dropping just 41.5%. The ten day cume is $36.3 million, and though it still has a ways to go in recouping its $50 million budget, the strong word of mouth (this one got the highly coveted A+ CinemaScore) could pull in audiences for months, especially if it gets awards buzz. Internationally the film has a cume of $1.3 million from just Brazil and Nigeria so far, but it is one to keep an eye on as it expands.

In third place is the re-release of James Cameron’s 2009 sci-fi epic Avatar, which remains the highest grossing film of all time worldwide and the fourth highest grossing domestically. The re-release brought in $10 million from 1,860 theaters, making it the best grossing of the year’s re-releases. Avatar was the killer app for the 3D format when it came out, and the 3D association remains as big as ever, with 93% of audiences seeing it in the additional dimension and 27% going for IMAX screens. From 50 international markets, it grossed another $20.5 million this weekend, and the film’s global cume now comes to $2.879 billion. One of the big box office questions for the rest of the year is whether the long awaited sequel Avatar: The Way of Water, which releases in December, will be another astronomical success for Cameron, and while the re-release can’t answer that, it does make it clear that audiences are excited to return to Pandora.

Barbarian had a terrific weekend three hold, dropping just 26% to $4.8 million. The critically acclaimed horror film now has a cume of $28.4 million, well beyond its $4 million budget. The even lower budgeted horror film Pearl also had a strong hold, declining 39% in its second weekend for a gross of $1.92 million and a cume of $6.65 million.