It turns out that, all the noise aside, Olivia Wilde didn’t need to worry. The actor/director’s new film Don’t Worry Darling topped the North American box office this weekend, taking in an estimated $19.2 million, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported Sunday.
It was unclear whether middling reviews and reports of off-screen cast dissension – including between the director and actress Florence Pugh – had helped or hindered ticket sales.
Regardless, the Warner Bros. film had “a very good opening, above average for an original romantic mystery,” according to analyst David A. Gross of Franchise Entertainment Research.
Last weekend’s top film, Sony’s The Woman King, sold $11.1 million in tickets but saw a 42 percent drop-off from its opening to place second. Oscar winner Viola Davis stars in the history-based tale of an all-female army of African warriors.
In third was the re-release of super-hit Avatar from director James Cameron. The 20th Century film took in an estimated $10 million – most of it on big Imax screens – for the Friday-through-Sunday period.
Gross said that was only a “fair” opening, but he noted that the film was a slow starter in 2009 before going on to set an all-time record of $2.8 billion in global ticket sales.
The studio hopes the re-release will build a head of interest big enough to offset the huge $250 million budget of the highly anticipated sequel Avatar: The Way of Water, due in December. Fourth place went to another 20th Century film, Barbarian, at $4.8 million. The horror film stars Georgina Campbell and Bill Skarsgard. And in fifth was A24’s blood-soaked slasher film Pearl, at $1.9 million. Mia Goth stars.