Viola Davis and her Agojie all-female warriors shook the box office out of its doldrums and reigned supreme. The Woman King predicted to earn from $16 million to $18 million, made $19 million instead, catapulting the action-drama-history to the top.
The film, written by Dana Stevens and actress Maria Bello, who learned about the history of the Agojie women warriors in the West African kingdom of Dahomey on a visit to Benin (formerly Dahomey), made 25 percent more than expected.
Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, The Woman King woke up the lethargic box office after three weekends where the number one films only made $10 million or less.
Buoyed by unanimously favorable movie reviews and good word of mouth, The Woman King may be poised for a long life in the theaters. The historical epic also stars Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, and John Boyega.
Barbarian, the Airbnb-set horror movie that debuted at the top on the previous weekend, dropped to second place. Still, at a 40 percent drop, that was considered not bad for this genre which usually falls 65 percent. Helmed by Zach Cregger, Barbarian, which features Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgard, and Justin Long, pocketed $6.3 million.
Pearl, another horror offering, bowed in third place with $3.124 million. Subtitled An X-traordinary Origin Story, the film premiered at the recent Venice Film Festival.
A prequel to X, the slasher movie, also directed and written by Ti West, top bills Mia Goth who reprises her role. Described as an ode to the classics of the golden age of Hollywood, Pearl costars David Corenswet, Emma Jenkins-Purro, and Tandi Wright.
Saoirse Ronan and Sam Rockwell’s See How They Run managed to debut only in fourth place and scrape up $3.1 million. The whodunnit comedy-mystery, set in the 1950s London theater scene, boasts of a good cast aside from the two main actors: Adrien Brody, David Oyelowo, Ruth Wilson, and Harris Dickinson.
Bullet Train, the violence-riddled action-comedy-thriller zipping through Japan, hung on to the last spot in the magic five. The David Leitch-directed movie, topped by Brad Pitt, Joey King, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, took in $2.5 million for a domestic total of $96.3 million after seven weeks.
Top Gun: Maverick finally slid out of the top five, only the second time it happened on its spectacular 17-week run. Tom Cruise’s biggest hit in his 41-year career is slowing down with $2.18 million for a sixth-place finish. Maverick’s North American tally has reached $709 million.
Comprising the rest of the top ten were, in order: DC League of Super-Pets, $2.175 million; The Invitation, $1.7 million; Minions: The Rise of Gru, $1.32 million; Moonage Daydream, Brett Morgen’s documentary on David Bowie, the first to have the blessing of the Bowie estate and which premiered to good reviews in last May’s Cannes Film Festival, is off to a good start with $1.22 million.
Internationally, George Clooney and Julia Roberts booked a ticket to the top of the offshore charts with Ticket to Paradise. More than 20 years since they costarred in Ocean’s Eleven, the two superstars are together again in a rom-com which opened overseas way ahead of North America.
The film, featuring George and Julia as a divorced couple who team up and fly to Bali to stop their daughter from making what they think is the same mistake they made more than two decades ago, made $12.1 million for an overseas tally of $14.8 million so far.
Writer-director Ol Parker’s movie with two of the screen’s most charismatic stars, which doesn’t open domestically until October 21, debuted strongly in Germany, Australia, the Middle East, Brazil, and Spain.
The Bollywood release, Brahmastra Part One: Shiva, earned $1 million in the United Kingdom, adding to its global cumulative of $41 million. India alone contributed $30.6 million to that total.
France, the UK, Spain, Germany, and Mexico were “pet-friendly” to the DC League of Super-Pets which has reached a benchmark of almost $90 million internationally.
Meanwhile, in China, the world’s biggest movie market, the homemade comedy, Give Me Five, picked up $36 million. The Rise of Gru, one of very few Hollywood films to secure a China release, collected a total of $34.6 million in that country.