‘The Woman King’ tops with $7 million on Friday

In what could mark the end of a theatrical crisis caused by the distributor, Sony and Entertainment Ones The female king topped the box office on Friday with a decent opening day of $6.85 million. That includes $1.7 million via Thursday previews and appears to be setting the stage for an $18 million debut. Yes, it’s important enough to keep me from yelling at you on Sunday and Monday for not showing up for what you say you want to see. It’s also on par with Sony’s $17 million launch. Where the Crawdads sing in July. This melodrama starring Daisy Edgar Jones was the first major film for/of/about women since The lost city and Everything, everywhere, all at once end of March. Now, the Viola Davis/Lashana Lynch/John Boyega action drama is the first such film since July. Hmm…

The female king features Viola Davis, Lashana Lynch, Thuso Mbedu and John Boyega in a (somewhat true) story of the Agojie, an all-female guard protecting the king and otherwise defending the West African kingdom of Dahomey in the 18th and 19th centuries. The film received mostly positive reviews, with a current rating of 94% Fresh and 7.7/10 on Rotten Tomatoes. It also got an A+ from Cinemascore, which means you can ignore the #boycottTheWomanKing ‘controversy’ just on Twitter over the film’s historical accuracy since (fun fact) much of the ‘problematic’ material is a much of the film’s moral conflicts. Again, this nonsense is no more genuine or indicative of general public sentiment than the sexism/racism-driven “controversies” on Hunger Games, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Wonder Woman, Harriet, Captain Marvel, The Rings of Power Where The little Mermaid.

The Gina Prince-Bythewood-directed film, written by Dana Stevens from a story by Stevens and Maria Bello, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last week to strong reviews and under-the-radar buzz among filmmakers. Oscars. It may not be explicitly positioned as an Oscar movie (it’s a business-oriented action movie first), but a strong opening might put it in the game. The hope is that the 50 million dollar movie comes out like crawdads = crawfish to a domestic total over/under $85 million, with at least some overseas aid to make up the difference in rate of return. Still, that’s precisely the kind of non-franchise, star-driven “movie-movie” that Sony now has the freedom/cushion to do thanks to the lucrative first-window pay-TV deal they signed with Netflix.
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Last year. And with Crawdads, bullet train and Woman Kingthey seem to be on a relative streak.

The female king will fend off competition from Olivia Wilde don’t worry darling next weekend. After which both “not a white guy” movies will have the ground to themselves, especially outside of horror movies like Halloween ends (and the reissue of Avatar), until black adam and Tickets to Paradise October 21. I can only hope that the audience rightly clamoring for more franchise-free, inclusive, star-focused, adult-oriented theatrical fare shows up in the next month. The extent to which they haven’t in the last 15 years, at least going back to Drew Barry’s terrific moviemore Whip it 13 years ago (see also: A Shortcut in Time, Widows, Overlord, The Spy Who Dumped Me…just in 2018), slowly became my villain origin story.

A24 opened Ti West’s pearl yesterday. The low-budget “secret” prequel to X opened with $1.317 million on Friday, which appears to be setting the stage for a $3.5 million opening weekend. That’s tied with the $4.275 million debut for X last March, which follows because it’s a sequel and many moviegoers might have decided that a horror adventure with the murderous protagonist of Mia Goth was enough. The well-reviewed and well-received prequel (a B- from Cinemascore, which may be a record for an A24 horror movie) was shot right after X in the midst of the Covid pandemic, so A24 got two (make three with MaXXXine on the way) for the metaphorical price of one. My wife wants to see this one so I’ll join later this weekend or early next week when she can go with me.

Open projector images See how they work to the expected results on a small scale. The charming but light-hearted 1950s whodunit, with behind-the-scenes murder amidst the cast and crew of an Agatha Christie adaptation, stars Sam Rockwell and deliciously mismatched Saoirse Ronan in the role of detectives and others like Adrian Brody, Ruth Wilson and David Oyelowo. as potential victims and suspects. With a low profile and little buzz, the twisty little film grossed $1.086 million yesterday for a likely opening weekend of $2.92 million. Alas. Meanwhile, Brett Morgen’s buzzy David Bowie documentary Lunar Reverie opened in 170 theaters, many of them IMAX or PLF, for a half-decent per-theater average. The NEON release grossed $580,000 on Friday for a likely weekend gross of $1.12 million and an average of $6,588 per theater. I’ll see it in IMAX when the weather permits next week.

by Kevin Smith Clerk III opened this week in nightly theatrical screenings sponsored by Fathom Event. The decently rated trio (66% fresh and 6.2/10 on Rotten Tomatoes) grossed around $180,000 on Friday for a likely $450,000 opening weekend and a lousy average of $563 per venue. However, the movie will have grossed $1.994 million since Tuesday. Thandiwe Newton God’s country opened with $96,000 on Friday for a likely opening weekend of $262,000 at 785 theaters. IFC put this supposedly pretty good rural thriller in a semi-wide release as frankly a glorified mitzvah. Likewise, Paramount
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opened Jon Hamm’s Confess, Fletch in 516 theaters for a likely $479,000 opening weekend with a simultaneous EST/PVOD release. Although well commented, it is surprising that a new Fletch movie, which we’ve all read as “about to happen” for 25 years, has now come out almost under cover of obscurity.

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