The Viola Davis-led action epic “The Woman King” easily captured the North American box office in its first weekend in theaters, against a crowded market of new releases. Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, the film exceeded expectations, earning $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 has 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 critical acclaim after its debut at the Toronto Film Festival. It currently has a new rating of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. And theater audiences seem just as excited, giving it a rare A+ CinemaScore suggesting word of mouth will be strong in the coming weeks.
“This one has great reviews, an epic story, and a great star in the lead role,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “People want to go to the cinema and the public is back in the habit of expecting new films in the cinema.”
The horror film ‘Barbarian’, a 20th Century Studios release, took second place in its second weekend with $6.3 million.
It’s been a busy week for new releases at the domestic box office, including the A24 horror prequel “Pearl”, Searchlight’s star mystery picture “See How They Run”, NEON’s David Bowie documentary “Moonage Daydream”, Paramount and Miramax’s “Confess, Fletch” , starring Jon Hamm and Focus Features’ “The Silent Twins,” but while most had good reviews, it was still a slower week for the company overall.
“See How They Run,” a 1950s murder mystery starring Saoirse Ronan and Sam Rockwell, estimates a $3.1 million domestic debut at 2,404 locations.
Ti West’s “Pearl” also took in an estimated $3.1 million. A24 released the film starring Mia Goth as a farm girl who dreams of movie stardom on 2935 screens. The first film “X” opened in March for $4.3 million and the studio has already given the green light for a third film, “MaXXXine”.
Meanwhile, Brett Morgen’s Bowie documentary, “Moonage Daydream,” debuted this weekend exclusively on IMAX screens, where it earned $1.2 million in North America, finishing in 10th place.
“This may not be a blockbuster corridor, but this is a great weekend,” said Dergarabedian. “There’s all this talk about the slump or delay after the summer, but there are a lot of new movies out there. You just have to look for the gems.”
Next week will be the release of Olivia Wilde’s much-discussed “Don’t Worry Darling,” which could boost the box office. But blockbuster numbers probably won’t return until October and even November, when the superhero movies return with “Black Adam” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday in U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. The final domestic figures will be announced on Monday.
1. “The Woman King,” $19 million.
2. “Barbarian”, $6.3 million.
3. “Pearl,” $3.1 million.
4. “See How They Walk,” $3.1 million.
5. “Bullet Train,” $2.5 million.
6. “Top Gun: Maverick,” $2.2 million.
7. “DC League of Super Pets,” $2.2 million.
8. “The Invitation,” $1.7 million.
9. “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” $1.3 million.
10. “Moonage Daydream,” $1.2 million.