Box office numbers: “Don’t Worry Darling”, “The Woman King”

Off-screen controversies didn’t stop the film from reaching number 1 at the box office. Plus, Avatar is in theaters again.

NEW YORK — After the off-screen drama threatened to consume Olivia Wilde’s “Don’t Worry Darling,” Warner Bros. opened No. 1 at the box office, debuting with $19.2 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

With Florence Pugh and Harry Styles, “Don’t Worry Darling” was engulfed by a storm of controversy it revolved around everything from Pugh’s allegedly strained relationship with Wilde to whether Styles might have even spat on co-star Chris Pine at the film’s premiere at the Venice Film Festival. (Styles denied this.) The film was also torched by critics (38% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and arrived in theaters with more baggage than any recent release.

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For an original film that cost $35 million to make, a $19.2 million launch was solid – and slightly more than the studio had expected. A slew of moviegoers — including many Styles fans — showed up to see what the fuss was all about.

But the release of “Don’t Worry Darling”, played in 4,113 theaters, was not a home run either. Audiences gave it a B- CinemaScore, and ticket buyers plummeted on Saturday after more promising results on Thursday and Friday. Warner Bros. said the audience was 66% female The film earned $10.8 million internationally.

Jeff Goldstein, head of distribution at Warner Bros., felt that “background noise was neutral impact”. The studio, he said, was “pleased with these results given our modest production budget.”

Viewership scores and dwindling ticket sales suggest “Don’t Worry Darling” may struggle to hold up in the weeks to come. But its decent enough debut meant Wilde’s film didn’t turn into a complete fiasco like some thought.

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Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for data firm Comscore, said that ultimately bad publicity was good publicity for Wilde’s sequel to her directorial debut, 2019’s teen comedy ” Booksmart”.

“Olivia Wilde’s latest benefited from the increased notoriety and mainstream media coverage that made ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ the virtual water cooler movie of the moment and raised its FOMO factor to new heights. even higher, which paid big dividends at the box office,” Dergarabedian said.

The best movie of the last week, The African epic “The Woman King” by Gina Prince-Bythewood starring Viola Davis, slipped to second place with $11.1 million in its second weekend of release. It was a modest 42% drop for the Sony Pictures release, a sign of resilience for the acclaimed action drama.

Third place went to a familiar box office force. The Walt Disney Co.’ reissue of “Avatar” by James Cameron grossed $10 million domestically and $20.5 million internationally, 13 years after its first theatrical release. Cameron’s remastered “Avatar,” playing in 1,860 theaters, was again particularly popular in 3D, which accounted for 93% of its domestic sales. Prelude to the upcoming release in December of the long-awaited sequel “Avatar: The Way of the Water”, the re-release further expands the all-time worldwide box office record for “Avatar”, which now exceeds 2.85 billions of dollars.

“Barbarian,” the Airbnb thriller from Disney and 20th Century Studios, held firm in fourth place. In its third weekend of release, the film added 550 theaters and fell only 26% from the previous weekend. “Barbarian” has so far grossed $28.4 million against a budget of $4 million.

Estimated Friday-Sunday ticket sales at US and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final national figures will be released on Monday.

1. “Don’t Worry Honey,” $19.2 million.

2. “The Woman King,” $11.1 million.

3. “Avatar,” $10 million.

4. “Barbarian,” $4.8 million.

5. “Pearl,” $1.9 million.

6. “See How They Work,” $1.9 million.

7. Bullet Train, $1.8 million.

8. ‘DC League of Super Pets’, $1.8 million.

9. “Top Gun: Maverick,” $1.6 million.

10. “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” $1 million.

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