As Marvel Studios’ “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” earned its third No. 1 weekend, Focus Features’ “Downton Abbey: A New Era” is opening in the No. 2 spot after earning $7.3 million from 3,820 screens on opening day, with the studio now estimating an $18 million opening weekend.
As the widest release ever in the history of Focus Features, “Downton Abbey: A New Era” has been a film theaters have pinned their hopes for stronger senior turnout on for months, though it was never expected to match the $31 million opening of the first “Downton Abbey” movie in fall 2019. But an $18 million opening would be a step up from the poor openings of 2021 films aimed towards older audiences like “Cry Macho” ($4.4 million) and “West Side Story” ($10.5 million).
So far, “Downton Abbey” seems to be doing its part with 48% of opening day audiences being over the age of 55 with 73% female. Reception for the breezy 1920s British aristocrat drama has also been strong across the board with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 85% critics and 98% audience to go with an A on CinemaScore.
Even prior to the pandemic, older audiences were known among theaters and distributors to see a film later in its theatrical run as opposed to younger audiences more likely to want to see a film on opening weekend. This means that “Downton Abbey: A New Era” could continue to bring reluctant older moviegoers back to theaters over the next several weeks with the strong word-of-mouth.
Meanwhile, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” continues its strong run at the box office, even if its holds are lower than those of past May Marvel films. With an estimated $30 million third weekend, “Doctor Strange 2” will have a running domestic total of $340 million and over $750 million worldwide. With overseas totals included, the Marvel film will likely pass the global runs of “The Batman” and “No Time to Die” this weekend.
Farther down the charts, A24’s “Men” opened at No. 5 with just a $3.3 million opening, barely beating the $3.1 million that the studio’s runaway hit, “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” is set to earn in its ninth weekend. Directed by “Ex Machina” filmmaker Alex Garland, the horror film’s cryptic plot has alienated audiences, who gave it a D+ on CinemaScore and a 56% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
But “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is giving A24 plenty to celebrate, as by the end of the weekend it will have surpassed “Uncut Gems” as the indie studio’s highest grossing film ever with a $52 million total. The Michelle Yeoh-starring sci-fi film has been a godsend for arthouses, bringing in a younger crowd with its wild humor, madcap imagery and heartfelt message as it has legged out for more than two months.