This weekend, three new films opening wide in at least 3,000 theaters, as well as two strong contenders from past weeks, all fought a five-way race for the top of the box office. However, at the end of the weekend, one film emerged winning the box office by $14 million: the film adaptation of “Downton Abbey.”
The closeness of the race for the top 5 was on full display. Going into the weekend all five films were projected within $8 million of each other. However, “Downton Abbey” garnered the coveted “A” Cinemascore, which is always a great sign for legs for a film. The film also earned an 85% on Rotten Tomatoes, earning praise from critics and fans. The audience was slanted 73% females over 25, which is yet again another great sign that “Downton Abbey” will not be going anywhere for weeks to come, as older female crowds are known to refer films to friends and go back for repeat views.
“Downton Abbey” had a budget of only $11 million dollars. This is important because opening weekend alone, the film already tripled its budget and has already become a runaway hit for Focus Features.
Taking a look at the top 5 Focus Feature openings, “Downton Abbey” explodes in first with its $33 million dollar opening, $8.4 million more than the second place “Insidious Chapter 2” at $22.6 million. With the rest of the top 5 all being extremely close with 2016’s “London Has Fallen” in third with $21,635,601, 2009’s “Burn After Reading” in fourth with $19,128,001 and rounding off with 2017’s “Atomic Blonde” at fifth with $18,286,420. The positive note for Focus Features here is of the other four films that make up the top 5, excluding “Insidious Chapter 2”, have tripled their opening. This coupled with an A Cinemascore, positive critical reception and skewing to an older demographic who doesn’t always rush to a film in its opening weekend, sets the film up to potentially be one of the studios highest grossing films. The top grossing film in studio history is the 2005 Oscar contender, “Brokeback Mountain,” which secured over $84 million in its theatrical run.
Bringing things back to this weekend’s top 5, the race for 2nd place was very tight as the Brad Pitt starring “Ad Astra” overcame Sylvester Stallone’s 5th run as the US Army Veteran in “Rambo: Last Blood” by only $128,000. “Ad Astra” may struggle in weeks to come to earn back its $80 million budget after earning only $45.2 million worldwide after its opening weekend. On the flip side, “Rambo: Last Blood” is the second highest opening in franchise history, only $1 million shy of 1985’s “Rambo: First Blood Part II”. Falling from the top spot down to fourth in its third week of release is “IT Chapter Two” with $17 million and rounding up the top 5 and dropping 49% is “Hustlers” making $16.8 million.
In the fourth weekend of the Fall Box Office season, “IT Chapter Two” remains in the top spot, earning nearly $179 million in just three weeks of release. However, it is currently over $80 million behind the first film’s box office total at the same time in its release. “Hustlers” remains in second with $62.3 million, and following are the 3 newest openings: “Downton Abbey” with $33 million in third, and “Ad Astra” with $19 million in a tight race for fourth and in 5th with $18.8 million is “Rambo: Last Blood.” Rounding up the fall box office is “The Goldfinch” in 6th with just $4.5 million, dropping 71% in its second weekend of release, and currently the 34th worst opening weekend of all time.
Only one new film opens wide this upcoming weekend and is aimed at the complete opposite demographic as last weekend: the children’s animated film “Abominable.” This time last year, the Channing Tatum starring animated movie from Warner Bros., “Smallfoot” opened to $23 million and went on to gross $82.9 million domestically. If Dreamworks and Pearl Studio’s “Abominable” is able to recreate that opening, it should be good enough to top next weekend’s box office, unless “Downton Abbey” holds remarkably well.
Check back next week to see how “Downton Abbey” holds in the second week of release, if “Ad Astra” or “Rambo: Last Blood” comes out above the other in their close matchup, and if “Abominable” can compete or if it does abominably