Weekend Box Office: Don’t Worry Darling Takes $19.2M Debut, Avatar Re-Release Finishes Third with $10M

Photo Credits: Warner Bros. Pictures & Matthew Libatique ("Don't Worry Darling"); 20th Century Studios / Disney ("Avatar")

Don’t Worry Darling

Warner Bros. historical psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling debuted in first place with $19.2M. That’s about in line with pre-release projection, if slightly on the lower end, with some projections closer to $22M.

Compared to some other adult-skewing September releases from recent years, its opening is about comparable to:

  • 2013’s Prisoners ($20.8M)
  • 2012’s Looper ($20.8M)
  • 2011’s Moneyball ($19.5M)
  • Last weekend’s The Woman King ($19.0M)
  • 2019’s Ad Astra ($19.0M)

Darling was also playing in 4,113 theaters, an unusually large reach for a film like this, making for a $4,668 per-theater average. All of the top 10 locations were AMC sites, with AMC Century City Los Angeles ranking #1.

The top 10 markets were:

  1. Los Angeles
  2. New York
  3. Dallas
  4. San Francisco
  5. Chicago
  6. Boston
  7. Washington, D.C.
  8. Philadelphia
  9. Phoenix
  10. Toronto

Word of mouth has been mixed, with a 38% Rotten Tomatoes critics average and an 81% audience average, one of the widest such discrepancies in recent memory. The audience CinemaScore was a “B-.”

Overseas, the film started with $10.8M in 62 markets, for a $30.0M global opening. The top overseas markets total is the U.K. ($3.1M).

The Woman King

Sony Pictures’ historical action drama The Woman King, starring Viola Davis, debuted last weekend with $19.0M in first place, on the higher end of pre-release projections.

This weekend it falls -41% to $11.1M and second place.

Compared to other comparable female-led action films starring Academy Award winners, that drop was milder than:

  • 2017’s Atomic Blonde with Charlize Theron (-55%)
  • 2018’s Red Sparrow with Jennifer Lawrence (-50%)
  • 2018’s Annihilation with Natalie Portman (-49%)
  • 2017’s Kidnap with Halle Berry (-49%)

However, it was steeper than several other comparable action or historical drama titles of recent years:

  • Hidden Figures (-9%)
  • Selma, the Martin Luther King biopic (-22%)
  • 12 Years a Slave (-31%)
  • 2018’s Widows, which also starred Viola Davis (-33%, although its sophomore frame fell on Thanksgiving weekend)
  • Django Unchained (-34%)
  • 42, the Jackie Robinson biopic (-36%)
  • 2019’s Harriet, the Harriet Tubman biopic (-37%)
  • July’s Where the Crawdads Sing (-40%)

Overseas, Woman’s box office has barely started with only $1.3M so far, with most major markets yet to open.

[Read Boxoffice PRO’s interview with The Woman King director Gina Prince-Bythewood here.]

Avatar re-release

20th Century Studios’ IMAX 3D re-release of James Cameron’s original 2009 Avatar earned $10.0M in third place. That was slightly on the higher end of pre-release projections, which were closer to the $8M-$9M range.

For comparison, its opening was:

  • 2.5x above 2010’s Avatar re-release, about eight months after its original release ($4.0M)
  • +85% above September’s re-release of 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home ($5.4M)
  • 9.3x above August’s re-release of 1982’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial ($1.0M)
  • 3.8x above September’s re-release of 1975’s Jaws ($2.6M)

However, it was also lower than some other blockbuster re-releases:

  • -42% below 2012’s re-release of James Cameron’s 1997 Titanic ($17.2M)
  • -55% below 2012’s re-release of 1999’s Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace ($22.4M)
  • -46% below 2013’s re-release of 1993’s Jurassic Park ($18.6M)
  • -20% below 2009’s re-release of 1995’s Toy Story ($12.4M)
  • -66% below 2011’s re-release of 1994’s The Lion King ($30.1M)
  • -43% below 2012’s re-release of 1991’s Beauty and the Beast ($17.7M)

The Avatar re-release contains a mid-credits sequence containing a sneak peak of December’s sequel Avatar: The Way of Water.

The re-release opening also took 93% of its earnings from 3D, a notably higher percentage than for the original Avatar’s opening (74%).

Domestically, the estimated audience was 56% male and 57% ages 25+.

Overseas, the re-release opened with $20.5M in 50 markets, for a $30.5M global opening. Top market totals include France ($2.9M), Italy ($1.5M), Germany, the U.K., South Korea, and Mexico (all with $1.3M).

75% of the film’s overseas opening came from premium formats, including 3D, IMAX, and/or immersive seating, a somewhat lower percentage than domestically.

Interviews

Boxoffice PRO has interviewed several filmmakers behind current releases:

  • The Woman King director Gina Prince-Bythewood, here.
  • The Retaliators producers Michael Lombardi (who also stars) and Allen Kovac, here.
  • Bullet Train director David Leitch, here.
  • Beast director Baltasar Kormákur, here.
  • The Invitation director Jessica M. Thompson, here.
  • Where the Crawdads Sing director Olivia Newman, here.

Weekend comparisons

Total box office this weekend came in around $59.1M, which is:

  • +15% above last weekend’s total ($51.0M), when The Woman King led with $19.0M.
  • +23% above the equivalent weekend in 2021 ($47.9M), when Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings led for a second consecutive frame with $21.6M.
  • -52% below the equivalent weekend in the last pre-pandemic year 2019 ($123.4M), when Downton Abbey led for a second consecutive frame with $31.0M.

YTD comparisons

Year-to-date box office stands around $5.54B. That’s:

  • 2.32x this same point in the pandemic recovery year of 2021 ($2.38B), down from 2.35x after last weekend.
  • -33.2% behind this same point in 2019, the last pre-pandemic year ($8.30B), down from -32.9% last weekend. The peak was around -29.5%, set in mid-July.

Top distributors

  1. Universal ($1.26B)
  2. Paramount ($1.17B)
  3. Disney ($880.8M)
  4. Sony Pictures ($744.0M)
  5. Warner Bros. ($736.3M)

Sunday’s Studio Weekend Estimates:

Title  Estimated weekend  % change Locations Location change Average  Total  Weekend Distributor
Don’t Worry Darling $19,200,000   4,113   $4,668 $19,200,000 1 Warner Bros.
The Woman King $11,145,000 -42% 3,765 n/c $2,960 $36,298,724 2 Sony Pictures
Avatar $10,000,000   1,860   $5,376 $770,507,625   20th Century Studios
Barbarian $4,800,000 -26% 2,890 550 $1,661 $28,430,261 3 20th Century Studios
Pearl $1,918,555 -39% 2,982 47 $643 $6,651,255 2 A24
See How They Run $1,900,000 -37% 2,502 98 $759 $6,105,039 2 Searchlight Pictures
Bullet Train $1,815,000 -29% 1,907 -695 $952 $99,247,954 8 Sony Pictures
DC League of Super Pets $1,765,000 -19% 2,351 -405 $751 $90,041,911 9 Warner Bros.
Top Gun: Maverick $1,559,847 -30% 2,025 -579 $770 $711,568,000 18 Paramount
Minions: The Rise of Gru $1,040,000 -25% 1,642 -328 $633 $365,547,230 13 Universal
The Invitation $1,000,000 -43% 1,676 -749 $597 $23,083,944 5 Sony Pictures
Moonage Daydream $922,000 -25% 733 563 $1,258 $2,600,526 2 Neon
Brahmastra Part 1: Shiva $415,000 -62% 460 -350 $902 $7,523,960 3 Fox Star India
Beast $400,000 -52% 750 -914 $533 $31,451,800 6 Universal
Cuando Sea Joven $270,000   315   $857 $270,000 1 Pantelion Films
Running The Bases $235,000 -56% 697 -383 $337 $1,039,028 2 UP2U Films
Nope $175,000 -59% 313 -358 $559 $123,113,710 10 Universal
On the Come Up $150,000   603   $249 $150,000 1 Paramount
Fall $120,000 -7% 167 -46 $719 $7,063,960 7 Lionsgate
Thor: Love and Thunder $100,000 -73% 230 -590 $435 $343,152,809 12 Walt Disney
Confess, Fletch $84,235 -68% 242 -274 $348 $498,000 2 Paramount
The Silent Twins $32,000 -69% 279 n/c $115 $185,655 2 Focus Features
Buried: The 1982 Alpine Meadows Avalanche $18,358   8   $2,295 $18,358 1 Greenwich
Bodies Bodies Bodies $18,254 -77% 172 -189 $106 $11,413,075 8 A24
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On $15,552 -53% 25 -91 $622 $6,306,639 14 A24
Everything Everywhere All At Once $9,057 -40% 28 -15 $323 $69,993,469 27 A24

News Stories