Darling, there was no reason to worry in the end. Olivia Wilde’s “Don’t Worry, Darling,” a psychological thriller set in the 1950s with off-screen drama that was just as exciting as what happened on-screen, did well in its first weekend at the box office, bringing in a leading $19.2 million from 4,113 North American theatres.
The movie made another $10.8 million overseas, bringing its total worldwide earnings to $30 million. Those ticket sales show that scandals behind the scenes didn’t hurt interest in the movie, which stars Florence Pugh and Harry Styles as newlyweds who live in a town that seems too perfect to be real.
All the talk about Spitgate, the awkward press conferences, and what seemed like an endless supply of stories for the tabloids may have even made people more aware. (Well, that and the overwhelming desire to see the world-famous pop star in his first major film role.) “Don’t Worry, Darling,” which cost $35 million to make, had a great opening. People went to see it for a lot of different reasons.
“No studio wants outside forces to change how they market their movies,” said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior Comscore analyst. “But in this case, the drama surrounding “Don’t Worry, Darling” only made the movie more of a must-see.”
The Warner Bros.-backed R-rated movie got a “B-” CinemaScore from moviegoers, which suggests that word-of-mouth could be a problem after the first weekend. “Don’t Worry Darling” didn’t get very good reviews either (it has a 38% on Rotten Tomatoes), but Styles fans didn’t care. They came out in droves over the weekend.
66% of people who bought tickets were women, which didn’t surprise anyone, and almost 70% were between the ages of 18 and 34. People under the age of 18, who made up 16% of the crowds, liked the movie the most. They gave it an “A-” CinemaScore.
Already, it looks like “Don’t Worry, Darling” will make most of its money early on. Friday’s sales, which included previews on Thursday and a special Imax showing on Monday, added up to $9.5 million, which was a big chunk of the first weekend’s sales.
Box office experts thought “Don’t Worry, Darling” would make $21 million or $22 million by Sunday based on how well it did on its first day. But on Saturday ($5.8 million) and Sunday ($3.8 million), the movie’s sales dropped more than expected. This caused Warner Bros. to lower its predictions to $19 million.
The studio said in a note to the press on Sunday, “We’re very proud of this movie and happy with how it turned out, given that it was made on a small budget.”
Another bright spot on the domestic box office charts was Disney’s re-release of “Avatar,” which made $10 million from just 1,860 theatres, most of which were Imax theatres. It’s a big number for a movie that came out 13 years ago, even if it is the highest-grossing movie in the history of the world.
Overseas, “Avatar” made a huge $20.5 million over the weekend from 50 international territories. This brought the worldwide total for the re-release to $30.5 million.
Given that the remastered version of “Avatar” came back to theatres on a random weekend in September, without the usual amount of promotion for new movies, box office watchers are optimistic about “Avatar: The Way of Water,” James Cameron’s decade-long, multimillion-dollar sequel that’s coming out in December.
Dergarbedian said, “This test run is to find out how the market feels about ‘The Way of Water.'” “It proves that there is heat.”
“Avatar” came in third at the box office, behind “The Woman King,” a historical action epic with Viola Davis that was made by Sony. The movie made a huge $11.14 million from 3,765 theatres in its second weekend, which was only 40% less than its first weekend. So far, “The Woman King” has made $36.2 million in the United States and $1.3 million elsewhere.
“Barbarian,” a Disney and 20th Century Studios movie about a killer who targets Airbnb guests, came in fourth place with $4.8 million. The film, which has been praised for its crazy twists and turns, is doing very well for a low-budget horror movie. Ticket sales have only dropped 26% since last weekend. So far, “Barbarian” has made $28.4 million.
Based on estimates from Sunday, “See How They Run” from Searchlight and “Pearl” from A24 tied for fifth place with $1.9 million each. After two weeks, “See How They Run,” which is playing in 2,502 theatres, has made $6.1 million. After two weeks, “Pearl,” which is showing in 2,982 theatres, has made $6.65 million. The official order on domestic charts will be decided by the results on Monday.
At No. 7, “Bullet Train” stayed strong. In its eighth weekend of release, it made $1.8 million from 1,907 theatres, bringing its total domestic sales to $99.2 million. The Sony Pictures movie has made $131.1 million so far outside of the United States, bringing its total earnings to $230 million.
“Moonage Daydream,” directed by Brett Morgen and starring David Bowie, was shown on 733 screens and brought in $922,000. The total number of tickets sold is $2.6 million, which is a good number for a documentary in today’s moviegoing environment.
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