It doesn’t have to be all sequels and superheroes.
“the king woman”, an original war drama starring Viola Davis, brought in $19 million in ticket sales for Sony Pictures Entertainment over the weekend, at least 25 percent more than analysts expected. It was the best September opening for a similarly pedigree, award-oriented, historically based movie since Clint Eastwood’s “Sully” in 2016.
Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood from a screenplay by Dana Stevens, “The Woman King” centers on Agojie, a warrior troop of women in Africa in the 19th century. The trailer and other preview material for the film prompted calls for a boycott on social media over concerns that overlooked or ignored aspects of the slave trade. But “The Woman King” received glowing reviews. More importantly, ticket buyers gave the film an A-plus PG-13 rating in CinemaScore exit polls, which bodes well for “you have to go see it” word of mouth.
With little competition for older ticket buyers in the coming weeks, “The Woman King” could ultimately bring in close to $100 million in the United States and Canada, box office analysts said. “These movies are playing to multiple healthy people for the remaining weeks,” said David A. Gross, who runs Franchise Entertainment Research, a film consultancy.
“The Woman King” cost an estimated $50 million to produce, not including marketing, and Sony and eOne teamed up to pay for it.
About 58 percent of “The Woman King” audience was over 35, according to Sony, with 39 percent over 45. Black moviegoers made up 59 percent of the audience, and white ticket buyers they were the second largest group.
The R-rated “Barbarian” (from 20th Century Studios, a division of Disney) ranked second at the domestic box office over the weekend, with about $6.3 million in ticket sales, for a total of $20 .9 million in two weeks. Low-budget slasher prequel “Pearl” (A24) came in third place, grossing $3.1 million.