This image released by Sony Pictures shows Viola Davis in “The Woman King.” (Sony Pictures via Associated Press)
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LOS ANGELES — The Viola Davis-directed action epic “The Woman King” easily conquered the North American box office in its first weekend in theaters, against a crowded market with new releases. The film, directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, exceeded expectations and grossed $19 million in ticket sales, according to Sony estimates on Sunday.
“The Woman King” was released by Sony and TriStar in 3,765 locations and carries a reported production budget of $50 million, which was co-funded by eOne. The film, about the Agojie, the all-female army of the kingdom of Dahomey in West Africa in the 1800s, received rave reviews after its debut at the Toronto Film Festival. It currently boasts a 94% Fresh Rating on Rotten Tomatoes. And movie theater audiences seem equally enthusiastic, awarding it a rare A+ CinemaScore suggesting word of mouth will be strong in the weeks to come.
“This one has great reviews, an epic story, and a big star in the lead role,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “People want to go to the cinema and the public has resumed the habit of waiting for new films in theaters.”
Horror film “Barbarian,” a 20th Century Studios release, took second place in its second weekend with $6.3 million.
It was a busy week for new releases at the domestic box office which included the A24 horror prequel “Pearl,” Searchlight’s star-studded mystery pic “See How They Run,” NEON’s David Bowie documentary “Moonage Daydream ”, “Confess” by Paramount and Miramax , Fletch”, with Jon Hamm, and “The Silent Twins” by Focus Features. But even though most boasted good reviews, it was still a slower week for the company as a whole.
“See How They Run,” a 1950s murder mystery starring Saoirse Ronan and Sam Rockwell, estimates a domestic debut of $3.1 million from 2,404 locations.
Ti West’s “Pearl” also grossed around $3.1 million. A24 released the film starring Mia Goth as a farm girl who dreams of becoming a movie star on 2,935 screens. The first “X” movie opened to $4.3 million in March, and the studio has already spotlighted a third movie, “MaXXXine.”
Brett Morgen’s Bowie documentary “Moonage Daydream,” meanwhile, debuted exclusively on IMAX screens this weekend, where it grossed $1.2 million in North America and landed in 10th place. .
“It may not be a hallway full of blockbusters, but it’s been a great weekend,” Dergarabedian said. “There’s all this talk of the post-summer slump or slowdown, but there’s a lot of new movies. Just look for the gems.”
Next week will see the release of Olivia Wilde’s much-discussed “Don’t Worry Darling,” which could give the box office a boost. But the blockbuster numbers likely won’t return until October and even November, when superhero movies return with “Black Adam” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”
Estimated Friday-Sunday ticket sales at US and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final national figures will be released on Monday.
- “The Woman King,” $19 million.
- “Barbarian,” $6.3 million.
- “Pearl,” $3.1 million.
- “See How They Work,” $3.1 million.
- “Bullet Train,” $2.5 million.
- “Top Gun: Maverick,” $2.2 million.
- “DC League of Super Pets,” $2.2 million.
- “The Invitation,” $1.7 million.
- “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” $1.3 million.
- “Moonage Daydream,” $1.2 million.
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