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Whose Worry Darling ignores drama, opening with $19.2 million – Daily Ardmoreite

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By Jake Coyle
AP Cinema Screenwriter

After the off-screen drama threatened to consume Olivia Wildes Don’t Worry Darling, the Warner Bros. opened No. 1 at the box office, debuting with $19.2 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates on Sunday. Starring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles, Don’t Worry Darling was engulfed in a storm of controversy that revolved around everything from Pugh’s allegedly strained relationship with Wilde to whether Styles might have even spat on the co-star Chris Pine at the Venice Film Festival premiere. (Styles denied it.)

The film was also torched by critics (38% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and arrived in theaters with more baggage than any recent release.

For an original film that cost $35 million to make, a $19.2 million launch was solid and slightly above the studio’s forecast. A slew of moviegoers, including many Styles fans, came out to see what it was all about.

But the release of Dont Worry Darling, played in 4,113 theaters, wasn’t a home run either. Audiences gave it a B- CinemaScore, and ticket buyers plummeted on Saturday after more promising results on Thursday and Friday.

Warner Bros. said the audience was 66% female. The film earned $10.8 million internationally.

Jeff Goldstein, head of distribution at Warner Bros., felt the background noise had a neutral impact. The studio, he said, was pleased with these results given our modest production budget.

Viewership scores and dwindling ticket sales suggest Dont Worry Darling may struggle in the coming weeks. But its decent enough debut meant Wildes’ film didn’t turn into a complete fiasco like some thought.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for data firm Comscore, said that ultimately bad publicity was good publicity for Wildes following her directorial debut on 2019 teen comedy Booksmart.

Olivia Wilde’s latest benefited from the increased notoriety and mainstream media coverage that made Dont Worry Darling the virtual water cooler movie of the moment and raised its FOMO factor to even greater heights, this which brought in big box office dividends, Dergarabedian said.

Last week’s best movie, Gina Prince-Bythewoods’ African epic The Woman King, starring Viola Davis, slipped to second place with $11.1 million in its second weekend of release. It was a modest 42% drop for the Sony Pictures release, a sign of resilience for the acclaimed action drama.

Third place went to a familiar box office force.

The Walt Disney Co. re-release of James Camerons Avatar has grossed $10 million domestically and $20.5 million internationally, 13 years after it first hit theaters. Camerons remastered Avatar, playing in 1,860 theaters, was again particularly popular in 3D, which accounted for 93% of its domestic sales. A prelude to the upcoming December release of the long-awaited sequel Avatar: The Way of Water, the re-release further fleshes out the all-time worldwide box office record for Avatar, which now exceeds $2.85 billion.

Barbarian, the Airbnb thriller from Disney and 20th Century Studios, held firm in fourth place. In its third weekend of release, the film added 550 theaters and fell only 26% from the previous weekend. Barbarian has so far grossed $28.4 million against a budget of $4 million.

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