Can ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ & ‘Avatar’ Re-Release Relieve The Box Office Blues?

The tentpole drought began in early August after the release of Bullet Train, and it will last until the mid-October release of Halloween Ends. Despite the absence of main events, which caused the overall box office to dip below $60 million for four straight weekends and possibly three more to come, the season saw strong counter-programming, best exemplified by last weekend’s outperforming $19 million opening of The Woman King which should have strong legs given the film’s outstanding word of mouth (including the rare A+ CinemaScore). This weekend we get the release of Don’t Worry Darling, possibly the hottest title of the season, and it may be the biggest gross weekend for a movie since High-speed trains Debuted $30 million seven weekends ago (the biggest since then is Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero’s $21.1 million opening five weekends ago).

Warner Bros.’ don’t worry darling, which is released in more than 4,000 theaters including IMAX and other high-end major formats, has grabbed headlines for some behind-the-scenes drama, and it has particularly generated hype among the music star’s fans. Harry Styles as his first major film role (he was previously seen as part of the Dunkirk set). Behind it all, however, is what has become an increasingly rare beast, an original high-concept, mid-budget ($35 million), star-driven, R-rated psychological thriller. 1950 tells the story of a housewife in a company town who becomes suspicious of the mysterious company her husband works for. Florence Poug fashionsOlivia Wilde, Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne, Nick Kroll and Chris Pine lead the cast, and it’s by Wilde second effort as a director, following her acclaimed 2019 debut Booksmart (which grossed $22.7 million domestically and another $2.28 million internationally on a $6 million budget).

The fundamentals here all seem good, but if there’s a catch, it’s poor critical reception. The 32% rating on Rotten Tomatoes may not make a dent in the box office if audiences like the film, as can often be the case with poorly-reviewed franchise and genre films that end up performing well. , but it’s less common for movies in the same territory like don’t worry darling. Yet the buzz and large fanbase of fashions should get this at least a teen/lower 20s opening. We’ve already seen plenty of sold-out shows from IMAX Monday special screenings with the live Q&A from the premiere, which IMAX said was their best-selling live event of all time. If the film can score positive word of mouth and decent legs, then this and The female king will do a big hit double with the kind of movies that Hollywood rarely makes anymore.

Second place should go to The female king, which is almost certain to stay in the double digits after its $19 million opening, with killer word of mouth (represented in its A+ CinemaScore) leading to a strong hold. The Viola Davis featuring a historical epic set in West Africa will end the weekend one step ahead of Dragon Ball Super: Super Heroes $34.9 million, making it the highest grossing figure so far of the current drought period. don’t worry darling might get its money’s worth in the long run, but given the rave reviews (94% on Rotten Tomatoes) and word of mouth, not to mention awards season potential, The female king looks like the horse to bet on.

The weekend’s other big release, the remastered re-release of James Cameron’s 2009 3D sci-fi epic Avatar, is expected to take third place. Avatar broke all-time domestic and worldwide box office records upon release, displacing by Cameron own 1997 movie Titanic of the highest echelon, and although Avatar has since fallen to number four on the domestic charts (with $760.5 million), it remains number one worldwide (Avengers: Endgame passed it in 2019, but Avatar reclaimed the top spot last year with a $57.7 million re-release in China that brought its total to $2.847 billion). The 1,850-theater re-release (including IMAX and other major high-end formats) comes about three months before the film’s long-awaited sequel hits screens on December 16. While it’s hard to extrapolate from the reissue numbers, if audiences are turning up far more for Avatar than the usual reissue, then we might have another record this winter. The re-release is worldwide, shown on more than 8,000 screens overseas, around half of which show the film in 3D.

Speaking of long-awaited sequels, Railway Children goes mainstream this weekend via Blue Fox Entertainment, 52 years after the release of Railway children. The original became a family classic in the UK, but the follow-up only grossed $3.46 million in the UK (under the title The Return of the Railway Children) since its release in July. This is Blue Fox’s fourth release this year, with the biggest hit being The Wolf and the Lion ($2.07 million).

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