‘The Woman King’ on Track for $18 Million Box Office Launch Off of Rave Reviews

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Sony/eOne’s “The Woman King” is keeping hopes alive for a solid run at the box office, earning $6.85 million on Friday from 3,765 locations and heading for an $18 million opening weekend, according to studio estimates.

That opening weekend would be just a tad higher than the $17.2 million opening for fellow Sony release “Where the Crawdads Sing,” which legged out to an $86 million domestic run thanks to strong word-of-mouth from female audiences. For “The Woman King,” Sony is hoping for a similar long box office run during this sluggish box office period as audience buzz builds.

So far, it looks like Sony’s hopes will be fulfilled. Along with excellent Rotten Tomatoes scores of 94% critics and 99% audience, “The Woman King” has earned an A+ from opening night audiences on CinemaScore. Next weekend, the film will go against the tepidly received “Don’t Worry Darling” and a re-release of James Cameron’s “Avatar,” giving it a strong chance to build buzz as an exciting action film with Viola Davis starring as the general of an all-female African military regiment.

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The Woman King” was directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood on a $50 million budget, with TriStar and eOne co-financing. Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch and John Boyega also star.

While hope abounds for “The Woman King,” it is doing little to boost overall box office numbers. According to industry estimates, weekend totals are expected to finish at around $50 million, just 15% up from last weekend’s total of $44 million. A steady flow of new titles over the coming weeks will help slowly increase revenue for theaters, but it likely won’t be until the release of Universal’s “Halloween Ends” and Warner Bros.’ “Black Adam” next month that numbers will significantly increase.

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Also opening this weekend is A24’s “Pearl,” a prequel to the slasher film “X” that was secretly filmed by director Ti West. The film is estimated for a No. 3 opening of $3.35 million from 2,935 locations, slightly below the $4.2 million opening for “X” earned this past spring. The film has Rotten Tomatoes scores of 86% critics and 83% audience along with a B- on CinemaScore, solid results for an R-rated slasher.

Searchlight Pictures has also released the murder mystery film “See How They Run” starring Sam Rockwell and Saoirse Ronan, with industry estimates projecting an opening in the No.4 slot with $3 million from 2,404 locations. The film also earned a B- on CinemaScore with an 80% critics Rotten Tomatoes score.