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‘Don’t Worry Darling’ Takes $19 Million Box Office Opening After Weeks of Stormy Headlines

”The Woman King“ holds 2nd weekend drop to 41% while ”Avatar“ adds $10 million this weekend

Warner Bros./New Line’s “Don’t Worry Darling” is meeting pre-release projections with a $19.2 million opening from 4,113 locations, driven primarily by female moviegoers interested in lead stars Florence Pugh and Harry Styles. With overseas markets included, the thriller has opened to $30 million worldwide.

The run-up to the release of “Don’t Worry Darling” has been filled with tabloid headlines about the filming of the movie, most notably over an alleged feud between Pugh and director Olivia Wilde. Meanwhile, critics have mostly panned the film with a 38% Rotten Tomatoes score.

Opening weekend audiences have been somewhat kinder to the film with audience scores of B- on CinemaScore, 81% audience Rotten Tomatoes rating, and 72% positive on Comscore/Screen Engine’s Postrak. As expected, the audience was primarily white women, with two-thirds being female and 68% Caucasian with 17% Latino.

With a reported budget of $35 million before marketing, “Don’t Worry Darling” should be able to turn a small profit theatrically even if word-of-mouth fails to grow beyond the fans of the film’s stars, who are more likely than others to be more interested in seeing the film in theaters because of the behind-the-scenes drama. Audiences in Styles’ homeland of the United Kingdom could help, as that country contributed $3.1 million this weekend towards the film’s global opening.

Sony/eOne’s “The Woman King” is in second with an estimated $11.2 million second weekend total, posting a rather strong hold after its overwhelmingly positive audience reception last weekend with a 41% drop from its $19 million opening. With a 10-day total of $36 million, “The Woman King” still has not made back its $50 million budget but is showing the legs it needs to get there.

In third is the re-release of “Avatar” from 20th Century Studios, which made $10 million domestically this weekend and $30.5 million worldwide, bringing the film’s all-time leading lifetime box office gross to $2.87 billion.

By comparison, the Labor Day weekend re-release of “Spider-Man: No Way Home” grossed $5.4 million domestically, putting this “Avatar” re-release 85% ahead. While it’s not an exact comparison — “Avatar” came out 13 years ago while “No Way Home” was in theaters just last winter — the result will be encouraging for Disney and 20th Century as they prepare to drum up buzz for “Avatar: The Way of Water,” which had some sneak-peek footage included in the re-release ahead of its December opening.

Holdovers complete the top 5 with 20th Century’s “Barbarian” continuing to be a low-budget success with $4.8 million in its third weekend and $28.4 million grossed so far. Searchlight’s “See How They Run” and A24’s “Pearl” are in a virtual tie for fifth with second-weekend totals of $1.9 million each. It will come down to Monday’s final totals to decide who comes out on top, with estimated overall totals of $6.1 million for “See How They Run” and $6.6 million for “Pearl.”