Even with the drama, disadvantageous reception and discourse, “Don’t Worry Darling” dominated the charts this weekend. With a $19.2 million opening, the film was in line with most expectations, though was far short of my prediction of $30 million. Unfortunately, the conversation surrounding “Don’t Worry Darling” has shifted from one of intrigue, to one of confusion. The film received a “B-” CinemaScore and pretty poor critical reception all across the board. The film has a reported $35 million budget and considering marketing expenses and theater’s portion of revenue, “Don’t Worry Darling” likely needs a worldwide gross around $130 million to profit. Of that $130 million, about $78 million will probably need to be domestic income. Considering the $19.2 million opening and poor reception, it is difficult to see “Don’t Worry Darling” reaching that number. I predict the film will close around $60 million domestically.
In second place is “The Woman King” which earned $11.1 million this weekend. Unlike “Don’t Worry Darling,” my commentary last week surrounded the film’s incredible critical and audience reception. With an “A+” CinemaScore, I thought “The Woman King” could have a royal box office run. Unfortunately, this weekend marked a 41.5% drop for the film. While this is not a terrible second weekend drop by any stretch, “The Woman King” needs to gross around $100 million domestically to profit (with its $50 million production budget) meaning it required a much stronger second weekend. With $36.3 million earned domestically to this date, it likely will only climb to around $75 million. But as we all know, strange things can happen at the box office.
Speaking of strange things, in third place this week is the re-release of the 2009 juggernaut “Avatar.” James Cameron’s epic earned $10 million, pushing its all-time domestic total to $770 million. This release was meant to build anticipation prior to the long-awaited sequel “Avatar: The Way of Water.” Considering “Avatar”’s position as the highest-grossing film of all-time, there are high expectations for this upcoming sequel. However, there are also a lot of questions. Historically, long-awaited sequels do not perform incredibly well at the box office (“Top Gun: Maverick” aside) as cultural resonance has withered over time. But “Avatar” is different. For one, it is never a good thing to bet against James Cameron. His last two releases became the highest grossing films of all time, all whilst critics said they were guaranteed flops due to their overblown budgets. With the strong trailer viewership and this successful re-release, “Avatar: The Way of Water” has a serious chance of repeating the historic run of its predecessor. This is the box office story to watch later this year.
In fourth and fifth this weekend are two horror flicks: “Barbarian” and “Pearl.” “Barbarian” keeps defying convention with another brilliant hold, grossing $4.8 million off a 26% drop, pushing itself to $28.4 million domestically. Two weeks ago, we calculated that “Barbarian” needs to make around $43 million worldwide to profit. It has not been released in many international markets, but the film has a serious chance to gross $40 million just domestically. “Barbarian” is close to a lock to profit. “Pearl” held decently this weekend falling just 39% to gross $1.9 million. It has now earned $6.6 million domestically. With only a $1 million budget, factoring in marketing and theatrical expenses, the film likely only needs $12 million worldwide to profit. With its current standing, that seems quite likely. With “Barbarian” and “Pearl,” the financial appeal of low-budget horror films is showcased again.
Next week brings the release of two new wide releases, “Bros” and “Smile.”
“Bros” is a landmark film, being the first studio romantic comedy surrounding gay characters with a full main cast from the LGBTQ+ community. The Universal film has earned critical acclaim, thus I predict it will earn $15 million and place No. 1 this coming weekend.
“Smile” is a horror film from Paramount that has earned moderate critical reception, I predict it will open around $8 million.
We shall see, will “Bros” make more history or will “Smile” be grinning atop the charts?