Weekend Forecast: Could Downton Abbey Emerge as Top Opener Against Ad Astra and Rambo: Last Blood?

A trio of new releases will court moviegoers this weekend as the calendar officially turns to fall, but which one will come out on top?


  • Ad Astra not only has strong reviews in its arsenal, but star Brad Pitt is fresh off the success of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The adult audience — particularly men — haven’t had many options at the theater since August, and this could have fair appeal to adult women as well. Premium theaters should also help boost earnings.

  • Downton Abbey has been enjoying impressive pre-sales in recent weeks as tracking has skyrocketed for the Focus Features release. With $2.2 million from special sneak previews domestically last week, and a strong international start, the fan base is likely to drive an excellent debut this weekend. Very positive reviews won’t hurt, either, and the targeting of moviegoers aged 40-50+ is a smart strategy in the current market as they’re typically an under-served segment. Metrics are comparable to those of Rocketman and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.

  • Rambo: Last Blood is tracking very well among adult men with interest metrics similar to those of Angel Has Fallen and The Predator. Stallone’s resurgence in the Creed and Expendables movies over recent years is translating to renewed excitement in this franchise among his fans.


  • Unfortunately, spacefaring dramas have displayed a trend of declining box office returns since the explosion of Gravity, The Martian, and Interstellar earlier in the decade. Pics like last year’s First Man (whose trends Ad Astra reminds us of) and 2017’s Life struggled to gain traction, and with the direct competition by Rambo for adult male audiences, we’re cautious in expectations this weekend. Staying power could be a different story, though.

  • The fan demand has skewed models for Downton Abbey, leaving very few direct comparisons to recent releases. Older demographics also aren’t typically known for rushing out on opening nights/weekends, which further complicates forecasts given the conflicting data at hand.

  • The Rambo franchise has been dormant for over eleven years, making it challenging to ascertain if this will expand beyond the adult male demo.

Opening Weekend Ranges

  • Ad Astra ($15 – 20 million)
  • Downton Abbey ($22 – 27 million)
  • Rambo: Last Blood ($18 – 23 million)

Top 10 vs. Last Year

Boxoffice projects this weekend’s top ten films will increase approximately 32 to 37 percent from the same frame last year when The House with a Clock In Its Walls and Fahrenheit 11/9 debuted in a top ten that accumulated $78.3 million.

Weekend Forecast

Film Distributor 3-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, September 15 % Change from Last Wknd
Downton Abbey Focus Features $24,000,000 $24,000,000 NEW
Rambo: Last Blood Lionsgate $20,400,000 $20,400,000 NEW
It: Chapter Two Warner Bros. / New Line $19,000,000 $181,900,000 -52%
Ad Astra Fox $16,800,000 $16,800,000 NEW
Hustlers STX $15,500,000 $61,200,000 -53%

Alex Edghill contributed to this report

Forecasts subject to change as location counts are finalized before Friday.

Contact us for information about subscribing to Boxoffice’s suite of forecasting and data services.

News Stories