Box office: ‘The Woman King’ reigns with a projected opening of $18 million

The Woman King has found his throne at the box office.

Sony’s release drums up a forecasted opening of $18 million from 3,765 locations, in line with most analysts’ estimates for the weekend. The epic also benefited from the landing of some premium format auditors like Imax, which gave an extra boost to revenues.

While this doesn’t necessarily count as a grand opening, it’s a solid start for the action film, which has a $50 million production budget and has no ties to existing franchises. Additionally, “The Woman King” is more than enough to top the box office in a slow weekend with few competing releases.

Co-financed by eOne, The Woman King drew a lot of attention when it made its smashing debut at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month. Since then, reviews have been largely rave, with the film currently garnering a mighty 94% approval rating on review-aggregating website Rotten Tomatoes. In his review for diversityChief film critic Peter Debruge wrote that “the film breaks the codes of mid-20th-century costume drama.”

Audience reactions proved even more promising, however, as The Woman King received a top rating of “A+” from research firm Cinema Score, indicating ecstatic approval from general moviegoers. Sony is hoping that strong word of mouth and a landscape with no surefire tent poles will benefit the film as it runs through the fall.

The Woman King stars and is produced by Viola Davis and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood. The features tell the true story of a powerful general (Davis) of the Agojie, an all-female military fighting to protect Dahomey, a West African kingdom. Starring alongside Davis are 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 is set to take third place, grossing $3.3 million from 2,935 locations. That’s about three-quarters of what “X” grossed on its debut in March – that predecessor grossed $13 million worldwide.

The numbers for “Pearl” are modest, but the Mia Goth vehicle was filmed in a back-to-back secret production with “X” that had a tiny pre-market budget of $1 million. It would be understandable to assume that “Pearl” was a similarly modest financial venture — a path to a final gross of $10 million with video-on-demand sales on the horizon is likely a success story for the horror film.

Searchlight Pictures’ “See How They Run” shoots up to number four on the charts. The Sam Rockwell-Saoirse Ronan-Zweihander pulled in $1.08 million from 2,404 locations on Friday, on its way to landing near an estimate of $2.7 million. Those aren’t great numbers for the crime thriller, but it’s commendable that the film made it to theaters at all, given that parent company Disney has become accustomed to sending Searchlight productions to Hulu lately.

There’s more to come… Box office: ‘The Woman King’ reigns with a projected opening of $18 million

Charles Jones

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