Olivia Wilde’s thriller, despite behind-the-scenes rumours, managed to post over $19 million debut on the weekend.
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 $19.2 million, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported.
It was unclear on Sunday 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 $11.1 million in tickets but saw a 42 percent 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 $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 $2.8 billion in global ticket sales.
High hopes for Avatar
The studio hopes the re-release will build interest big enough to offset the huge $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 $4.8 million. The horror film stars Georgina Campbell and Bill Skarsgard.
And in fifth was A24's blood-soaked slasher film "Pearl," at $1.9 million. Mia Goth stars.
Rounding out the top 10 were:
"See How They Run" ($1.9 million)
"Bullet Train" ($1.8 million)
"DC League of Super-Pets" ($1.8 million)
"Top Gun: Maverick" ($1.6 million)
"Minions: The Rise of Gru" ($1 million)