Box Office: The Woman King Prevails With Projected $18 Million Opening Weekend

“The Woman King” has found its throne at the box office.

The Sony release is drumming up a projected $18 million opening from 3,765 locations, in line with most analysts’ estimates heading into the weekend. The epic also benefited from landing some premium format auditoriums, such as Imax, lending an additional boost to revenue.

Though that doesn’t necessarily qualify as a grand opening, it’s a solid start for the action film, which carries a $50 million production budget and has no ties to existing franchises. What’s more, it’s more than enough for “The Woman King” to top box office charts on a slow weekend with few rival releases.

Co-financed by eOne, “The Woman King” started to draw great buzz when it made a splashy debut at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month. Reviews have been largely glowing since, with the film currently holding a mighty 94% approval rating on review-aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes. In his review for Variety, chief film critic Peter Debruge wrote that “the movie embraces the codes of mid-20th-century costume dramas: It’s stirring but slightly stodgy, designed to stand the test of time.”

Audience reactions are proving to be even more auspicious though, with “The Woman King” landing the maximum “A+” grade through research firm Cinema Score, indicating ecstatic approval from general moviegoers. Sony hopes that strong word-of-mouth and a landscape bereft of surefire tentpoles will benefit the film as it continues to play through the fall.

“The Woman King” stars and is produced by Viola Davis, with Gina Prince-Bythewood directing. The features tells the true story of a powerful general (Davis) of the Agojie, an all-female military that fights to protect Dahomey, a West African kingdom. Along with Davis, the film stars John Boyega, Lashana Lynch, Thuso Mbedu and Sheila Atim.

Also opening this weekend is A24’s “Pearl,” a Ti West-directed horror prequel to his “X,” released earlier this year. The Technicolor-aping period film looks to land in third place, drawing $3.3 million from 2,935 locations. That’s about three-quarters of what “X” grossed in its March debut — that predecessor went on to draw in $13 million worldwide.

The numbers for “Pearl” are rather humble, but the Mia Goth vehicle was filmed in a secret back-to-back production with “X,” which carried an itsy-bitsy reported $1 million budget before marketing. It’d be understandable to presume that “Pearl” was a similarly modest financial endeavor — a pathway to a final $10 million gross with video-on-demand sales on the horizon is probably a success story for the horror film.

Searchlight Pictures’ “See How They Run” is shooting for fourth place on the charts. The Sam Rockwell-Saoirse Ronan two-hander drew $1.08 million from 2,404 locations on Friday, on its way to landing near estimates of $2.7 million. Those aren’t exactly splendid numbers for the whodunnit, but it’s commendable that the film found its way into theaters at all, as parent company Disney has been wont to send Searchlight productions to Hulu as of late.

More to come…

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