'Downton Abbey' Serves Up Record, $31 Million Opening for Focus Features
It was a record weekend for Focus Features that saw Downton Abbey not only top the weekend box office, but it became the studio's largest opener ever, topping $30 million. The weekend's fellow new releases — Ad Astra and Rambo: Last Blood — delivered on expectations and are in a neck-and-neck battle for runner-up position and we'll have to wait for actuals to tell the full story on Monday afternoon.

With an estimated $31 million, Focus Features's Downton Abbey topped the weekend box office, giving the studio their largest opening weekend ever. Previously, Insidious Chapter 3 was the studio's record opener with $22.7 million followed by London Has Fallen, also making this their first release to ever top $30 million in nearly 20 years of film distribution. The film played to a crowd that was 74% female and of the total audience, 60% were aged 35 or older. Working in the film's favor was a positive, "A" CinemaScore from opening day audiences to go along with a 96% audience score on RottenTomatoes and 7.8/10 user rating on IMDb. All that said, it will be curious to see how the film performs next weekend given more than $4 million of the film's opening weekend gross was as a result of pre-weekend previews, though it did hold on well over the weekend suggesting a solid hold may be upcoming next weekend.

Internationally, after debuting in 17 markets last weekend, Downton Abbey added another 15 this week for a total of 32, from which the film brought in an estimated $10 million for the weekend for an overseas cume that currently stands just shy of $31 million. New markets were led by a $1.3 million debut in Germany while the UK remains the top overall market where the film added another $3.6 million in its second weekend for a cume that now totals $15.6 million. Next weekend the film will debut in France, Belgium and Denmark.

Second place is neck-and-neck at this time with Disney's release of Fox's sci-fi feature Ad Astra narrowly edging out Lionsgate and Millennium's Rambo: Last Blood, both bringing just over $19 million. At this time the edge goes to Ad Astra with an estimated $19.2 million from 3,460 locations. Reported to have been made for anywhere to $80-100+ million, the performance is hardly the kind of start the studio could have hoped for, not to mention the so-so "B-" CinemaScore from opening weekend audiences which were 54% male and 73% aged 25 or older.

Internationally, the film opened in 44 markets and hauled in an estimated $26 million for a $45.2 million global debut. Leading the way were $2.8 million openings in both Korea and the UK, followed by France ($2.7m), Spain ($2.2m), Japan ($2.2m), Mexico ($1.4m) and Australia ($1.3m). The film will debut in Italy, Russia and Brazil next weekend.

Just behind Ad Astra is Lionsgate and Millennium's Rambo: Last Blood with an estimated $19 million. The performance is just ahead of the $18.2 million opening for the last return of the title character in Rambo eleven years ago when the film opened with $18.2 million, albeit in nearly one thousand fewer locations. Working in the film's favor when compared to the performance for Ad Astra is it was made for a reported $50 million. Opening day audiences gave the film a "B" CinemaScore and the makeup of that audience was 66% male.

WB and New Line's It: Chapter Two finished in fourth position, dipping -56% in its third weekend in release for an estimated $17.2 million and a domestic cume that now tops $179 million. The sequel ranks as the third largest R-rated horror of all-time domestically and will soon become only the third R-rated horror to ever top $200 million at the domestic box office. Internationally, the film added another $21.3 million for an overseas cume that now totals over $205 million and a worldwide total topping $385 million.

Rounding out the top five is STXfilms's Hustlers with a solid second weekend performance, dipping just -49% for an estimated $17 million three-day and a domestic cume that now stands at $62.5 million. The film now ranks as the fourth largest release for STX all-time and will soon top A Bad Moms Christmas on its way to topping $100 million and perhaps challenging Bad Moms to become the studio's largest domestic release ever. The film also added another $3 million from 18 international markets currently in release for an overseas cume that now stands just shy of $10 million for a global tally topping $72 million.

In limited release, after two Fathom screenings earlier in the week, GKIDs debuted Promare in 31 theaters where it brought in an estimated $88,044 ($2,840 PTA); Fox International's The Zoya Factor opened in 100 locations with an estimated $79,000 ($790 PTA); Sony Classics opened Where's My Roy Cohn? in four locations with an estimated $42,364 ($10,591 PTA); IFC's Loro brought in $5,567 in one theater; Oscilloscope's Midnight Traveler delivered $4,200, also from one location; and Cohen Media's Britt-Marie was Here debuted in three theaters with $4,090 ($1,363 PTA).

Next weekend Universal will debut Abominable in over 4,100 locations, serving as the first animated wide release in over a month.

You can check out all of this weekend's estimated results right here and we'll be updating our charts with weekend actuals on Monday afternoon.

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