With other studios steering clear of next week’s release of “Joker,” Universal has steered their seventh 2019 release to a No. 1 opening by catering to family audiences. DreamWorks/Pearl’s “Abominable” is meeting analyst expectations with an estimated $20 million opening from 4,242 screens, and joins fellow Universal releases “Good Boys” and “Us” as the only three original films to top the charts this year.
Universal has been comparing “Abominable” in its marketing campaign to the recently completed “How to Train Your Dragon” trilogy, and reception from critics and audiences has been just as strong as those films with an 80% Rotten Tomatoes score to go with an A on CinemaScore and 4/5 from Postrak audience polls. The film has a $75 million budget co-financed by Universal and Pearl Studio, the latter of whom co-produced the movie with DreamWorks and is handling distribution in China.
Universal also has a 1-2 finish with its combined efforts with its indie wing, Focus Features. “Downton Abbey” is in second place this weekend with a solid hold from its Focus-record $31 million opening. The film fell 53% for an estimated $14.4 million second weekend total, which would give it a 10-day total of $58.4 million total.
In third is STX’s “Hustlers,” which is still holding well with an estimated $11.7 million total in its third weekend. That would give the film a $80 million total, bringing it closer to joining “The Upside” as the second STX release this year to gross over $100 million domestic.
Fox’s “Ad Astra” is in fourth with $10 million in its second weekend, dropping 47% from its $19 million opening for a $35 million domestic total. It is just ahead of Warner Bros./New Line’s “It: Chapter Two” with an estimated $9.9 million in its fourth weekend, bringing it close to passing $200 million domestic. The horror sequel is topping Lionsgate’s “Rambo: Last Blood,” which is estimated to gross $8 million in its second weekend for a 57% drop from its $18.8 million opening.
Opening outside the top five is Roadside Attractions’ “Judy,” a potential awards contender thanks to Renee Zellweger’s lead performance as Judy Garland in the twilight of her career. Released on 461 screens, the film earned $900,000 on Friday and is projected for a $2.9 million opening.