The Viola Davis-led action epic “The Woman King” easily conquered the North American box office in its first weekend in theaters, against a crowded market of new releases. The film, directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, surpassed expectations and earned $19 million in ticket sales, according to Sunday estimates.
“The Woman King” opened in 3,765 locations and carried a reported production budget of $50 million. The film, about the Agojie, the all-female army of the Kingdom of Dahomey in West Africa in the 1800s, got glowing reviews after its debut at Toronto Film Festival.
It boasts a 94% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. And theatrical audiences seem just as enthusiastic, giving it a rare A+ CinemaScore. Though $19 million is not a blockbuster debut, it’s a solid start for the adult-skewing warrior epic.
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The horror movie “Barbarian” took second place in its second weekend with $6.3 million.
It was a jam-packed week for new releases at the domestic box office that included the horror prequel “Pearl,” starry mystery pic “See How They Run,” David Bowie documentary “Moonage Daydream,” Jon Hamm’s “Confess, Fletch” and Letitia Wright in “The Silent Twins.” But even though most boasted good reviews, it was still a slow week for the business overall.
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“See How They Run,” a 1950s-set murder mystery with Saoirse Ronan and Sam Rockwell, is estimating a $3.1 million domestic debut from 2,404 locations.
Ti West’s “Pearl,” starring Mia Goth as a farm girl who dreams of movie stardom, took in an estimated $3.1 million on 2,935 screens. The first film “X” opened $4.3 million in March and the studio has already greenlit a third film, “MaXXXine.”
Brett Morgen’s Bowie documentary “Moonage Daydream” debuted exclusively on IMAX screens, where it made $1.2 million in North America and landed in 10th place.
“This may not be a blockbuster-filled corridor, but this is a great weekend,” says Dergarabedian. “There’s all this talk of the post-summer doldrums or slowdown, but there’s a lot of new movies out there. You just have to look for the gems.”
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Next week will see the release of Olivia Wilde’s much-discussed “Don’t Worry Darling,” which could give a boost to the box office. But blockbuster numbers likely won’t return until October or even November when the superhero movies return with “Black Adam” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”
Final numbers are expected Monday.