‘Don’t Worry Darling’ tops US box office amid reported cast conflict

LOS ANGELES • It turns out that, all the noise aside, Olivia Wilde didn’t need to worry. The actor/director’s new film “Don’t Worry Darling” topped the North American box office this weekend, taking in an estimated US$19.2 million (RM85.56 million), industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported on Sunday.

It was unclear whether middling reviews and reports of off-screen cast dissension — including between the director and actress Florence Pugh — had helped or hindered ticket sales. 

Regardless, the Warner Bros film had “a very good opening, above average for an original romantic mystery”, according to analyst David A Gross of Franchise Entertainment Research.

Last weekend’s top film, Sony’s “The Woman King” sold US$11.1 million in tickets, but saw a 42% drop-off from its opening to place second. Oscar winner Viola Davis stars in the history-based tale of an all-female army of African warriors.

In third was the re-release of super-hit “Avatar” from director James Cameron. The 20th Century film took in an estimated US$10 million — most of it on big Imax screens — for the Friday-through-Sunday period. 

Gross said that was only a “fair” opening, but he noted that the film was a slow starter in 2009 before going on to set an all-time record of US$2.8 billion in global ticket sales.

The studio hopes the re-release will build a head of interest big enough to offset the huge US$250 million budget of highly anticipated sequel “Avatar: The Way of Water”, due in December.

Fourth place went to another 20th Century film “Barbarian” at US$4.8 million. The horror film stars Georgina Campbell and Bill Skarsgard.

And in fifth was A24’s blood-soaked slasher film “Pearl” at US$1.9 million. Mia Goth stars. — AFP