Box Office: ‘The Woman King’ Rolls In With $18 Million Project Opening | Techno Glob

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

The Sony release is drumming up a projected $18 million opening from 3,765 locations, beating most analysts’ estimates for the weekend. Epic also benefited from landing some premium format auditoriums, such as Imax, to lend an additional boost to revenue.

While that doesn’t necessarily qualify as a great opening, it’s a strong start for an action film that has a $50 million production budget and no ties to existing franchises. What’s more, it’s more than enough for “The Woman King” to top the box office chart in a slow weekend with some rival releases.

Co-produced by eOne, “The Woman King” started generating huge buzz when it made a grand debut at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month. Reviews have been largely glowing, with the film currently holding a powerful 94% approval rating on review website Rotten Tomatoes. In his review A variety of varietieschief film critic Peter Debrog wrote that “the film embraces the codes of mid-20th-century costume dramas: it’s light but slightly studious, designed to stand the test of time.”

Audience reactions are proving to be even more positive, with “The Woman King” receiving a maximum grade of “A+” from research firm CinemaScore, indicating enthusiastic approval from general moviegoers. Sony is hoping that strong word of mouth and a scene devoid of definite tentacles will benefit the film as it continues to play through the fall.

“The Woman King” stars and is produced by Viola Davis, directed by Gina Prince-Bywood. Features the true story of a powerful general (Davis) of Agoji, an all-female army that fights to protect Dahomey, a West African kingdom. Along with Davis, the film stars John Boyega, Lashana Lynch, Tso Mbedo and Sheila Uttam.

Also opening this weekend is A24’s “Pearl,” a West-directed horror sequel to his “X” released earlier this year. The Technicolor-upping period film landed in third place, making $3.3 million from 2,935 locations. That’s about three-quarters of what “X” earned in its March debut — the former took in $13 million worldwide.

The numbers for “Pearl” are slim, but Mia was filmed in a secret back-production with the goth vehicle “X,” which had a reported budget of $1 million before marketing. It’s understandable that “Pearl” was such a modest financial effort — with video-on-demand sales on the horizon, the path to a $10 million gross may be a horror movie success story.

Searchlight Pictures is shooting for fourth place on the “See How They Go” chart. The Sam Rockwell-Saoirse Ronan two-hander pulled in $1.08 million from 2,404 locations on Friday, on track to land near estimates of $2.7 million. Those aren’t exactly impressive — or successful — numbers for Whonet, but it’s admirable that the film found its way into theaters at all, as parent company Disney has been eager to send Searchlight Productions to Hulu of late.

Also opening in wide release, “Running the Bases,” a faith-based drama with some baseball in it, found itself in 1,080 theaters. UP2U Films is pushing the release to gross $510,000 for the weekend. “God’s Country,” a Thandie Newton-starrer western that debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, is offering a $262,000 gross from 785 theaters. Kevin Smith’s “Clerks III,” released by Fathom Events, continues to play at 800 venues after opening this week. It should raise its domestic total to around $2 million by Sunday.

There’s also “Confession, Fletch,” a new adaptation of Gregory Macdonald’s mystery novel series starring Jon Hamm. After “Orphan: First Kill,” “Fletch” marks another hybrid release experiment for Paramount, which debuted Whonet on video-on-demand while also bowing at 516 locations. Although the studio hasn’t released home entertainment numbers, the theatrical results haven’t been pretty. The film grossed $96,000 on its opening day, marking a roughly $186 per location average.

Landing in second place, 20th Century Studios’ “Barbarian” earned $1.96 million on Friday, down 49 percent from its opening day last week. That’s a pretty impressive hold, especially with a mediocre “C+” grade by CinemaScore. Terrible releases are reflected in front-loaded box office performances. However, online chatter around the “Barbarian” genre has been strong among fans and the film continues to grab eyeballs. It should increase its domestic total to more than $20 million by Sunday.

There will be a tight race for fifth place, but Sony’s “Bullet Train” is the favorite for now, with $2.6 million in its seventh weekend. The Brad Pitt action vehicle’s domestic gross will be $96 million after the weekend, slowly but surely touching the $100 million mark.

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