The Woman King, starring Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis, opened to an estimated $18 million in North America after getting the much sought-after A+ CinemaScore.
The weekend box office competition will be handily won by the film. On Friday, it brought in $6.85 million, which included $1.7 million from Thursday previews. The performance of The Woman King is exceeding expectations; Sony had predicted about $12 million, although tracking had predicted it would debut with $15 to $18 million.
The historical epic, produced by Sony’s TriStar division and eOne, is helmed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and is based on a narrative by Maria Bello and Dana Stevens about the Agojie, an all-female army who fought in the West African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Black moviegoers made up 59 percent of the crowd on Friday, followed by white moviegoers (19 percent), Latinos (12 percent), and Asian or other identifiable moviegoers. Women made up 60 percent of all ticket purchases (10 percent).
On September 9, the movie had its international debut at the Toronto Film Festival, to raving reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, it now has a 94 percent critics’ approval rating.
Production of The Woman King is said to have cost $50 million, excluding costs for marketing and distribution. Along with Thuso Mbedu, the cast also includes John Boyega, Sheila Atim, Lashana Lynch, and Hero Fiennes.
Due to a lack of event pictures aside from The Woman King, two specialty films chose to release wide instead; A24’s horror prequel and Searchlight’s whodunit See How They Run.
Pearl had a Friday take of $1.3 million on 2,935 screens, with an estimated $3 million+ opening. The film is anticipated to finish third in the weekend box office rankings, behind See How They Run, which is anticipated to bring in $2.8 million from 2,404 theaters. They both got a mediocre B- CinemaScore.
Only 170 theaters will host the world premiere of Neon’s David Bowie biography Moonage Daydream. The movie, which had its world premiere at Cannes, is anticipated to open to a healthy $1.35 million.