‘Don’t Worry Darling’ earns $9.4 million as Avatar earns $3.3 million
Warner Bros. and New Line’s don’t worry darling (exam) at the top of the national box office on Friday with $9.4 million. It’s basically tied to Emily Blunt’s $9.26 million opening day gross The girl on the train in October 2016. This pot earned $24.54 million in its opening weekend on its way to a domestic cume of $75.4 million. Whether don’t worry darlingwith Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine and Olivia Wilde (who, of course, directed the film) plays the same (or as A simple favor which raked in $16 million on a $5.9 million Friday in September 2018), we’re looking at a debut frame of $24.9 million. However, assuming modern frontloading, a B- from Cinemascore, and the possibility of that first 24 hours being inflated by Harry Styles fans, that could end up closer to $20 million than $25 million.
Either would be fine, since we’re talking about an original, R-rated, adult-oriented, star-driven genre movie that’s roughly $30 million or so (including related costs to Covid) to produce. After months and months of mostly speculative gossip and mostly sourceless allegations behind the scenes, don’t worry darling opened exactly how it was always going to work. No, the hilarious and mostly fabricated controversies (no, Harry Styles didn’t spit on Chris Pine at the Venice premiere) didn’t lead to the film’s aggressive overperformance, but it didn’t hurt the box office revenue either. opening weekend. Once again, for the 7,194th time, these internet-centric controversies don’t make a substantial difference to real-world reception. If audiences want to see a movie, they will show up regardless of the outside elements. And if they don’t, no bashing in the world will get them into the theater.
Warner Bros. sold a sexy and chilling psychological thriller with hints of eroticism and fantasy elements, essentially Stepford Wives meets Truman show meets Get out. Both theatrical trailers played with demographically favorable titles like Elvis, where the Crawdads sing and Nope and promised hot movie stars being hot amid gorgeous production values and kinky, creepy storytelling. The reviews were mixed and negative, of course, but I would say that the pans mostly assured consumers that they would get what the marketing promised. This B- is not ideal for post-debut legs, and the third act is its weakest part. Although it’s also a bit of a horror movie and those are still weird. People who think it’s too scary and people who think it’s not scary enough drive the scores down. Still, if the film doesn’t last beyond those first 72 hours, that’s about the film, not the behind-the-scenes shenanigans.
Again, credit the five elements of a commercially viable non-franchise movie. There was an ensemble cast, a marquee director, an easy-to-explain hook, and the promise of escape. It obviously lacks “great reviews,” but that’s probably why it opens closer to $20 million than $25 million this weekend. Again, credit WB’s marketing for turning an unconventional theatrical release into a true mainstream success. They’ve been doing this at least since magic mike in 2012, though that movie’s $39 million launch now feels like a different world (much like Fox’s $36 million opening for missing girl in October 2014). Since then, WB has scored with the likes of Gravity, The LEGO Movie, American Sniper, It, Dunkirk, A Star Is Born, Crazy Rich Asians, Joker, Dune and Elvis. To quote another WB hit, what happened happened and couldn’t have happened any other way.
The other main “new” release was that of James Cameron Avatar. The all-time world box office champion has returned to cinemas with a new 4K restoration, with some scenes offered in 48 frames per second (up from 24). I did not attend the pressers because A) they were in conflict with amsterdam and B) I wanted to take my kids, which I’m doing today at Universal CityWalk. They saw Avatar twice, once in early 2018 (after visiting “Pandora” at Disney World) and once just two months ago because my seven year old son couldn’t wait for the right 3D theater experience. Either way, the movie made $3.3 million on Friday, paving the way for a weekend of over or under $9 million. This will bring its domestic consumption to $769.5 million and mark the biggest opening for a re-release since Jurassic Park 3-D ($18.2 million) in early 2013.
The “big question” is whether this global re-release (without China, where it returned in early 2021 for an additional $55 million) can eventually push the film from $2.85 billion to over $3 billion. dollars in the world. We’ll have a better idea tomorrow when Disney drops overseas revenue ($11 million worldwide so far), but this is all just marketing for Avatar: The Way of the Water. Whatever thoughts I had in December 2014 about Avatar not having much of a conventional pop culture imprint, A) it’s not true anymore and B) the very things it didn’t have (multimedia spin-offs, merchandise, obsessive online fans, etc.) now make the initial success of the film even more aspirational. It was a last original mega-blockbuster before IP and nostalgia became the driving force of theatrical tentpoles, so it now inspires nostalgia for a less nostalgic time. It helps that the movie is still great.