The Viola Davis-led action epic “ The Woman Kin g” easily conquered the North American box office in its first weekend in theaters, against a crowded market of new releases. The film, directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, surpassed expectations and earned $19 million in ticket sales, according to estimates from Sony on Sunday.
“The Woman King” was released by Sony and TriStar in 3,765 locations and carries a reported production budget of $50 million, which was co-financed by eOne. The film, about the Agojie, the all-female army of the Kingdom of Dahomey in West Africa in the 1800s, got glowing reviews after its debut at the Toronto Film Festival. It currently boasts a 94% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. And theatrical audiences seem just as enthusiastic, giving it a rare A+ CinemaScore. Though $19 million is not a blockbuster debut, it’s a solid start for the adult-skewing warrior epic.
The horror movie “Barbarian,” a 20th Century Studios release, took second place in its second weekend with $6.3 million.
It was a jam-packed week for new releases at the domestic box office that included the A24 horror prequel “ Pearl,” Searchlight’s starry mystery pic “ See How They Run,” NEON’s David Bowie documentary “ Moonage Daydream,” Paramount and Miramax’s “Confess, Fletch,” with Jon Hamm, and Focus Features’ “The Silent Twins.” But even though most boasted good reviews, it was still a slow week for the business overall.
“See How They Run,” a 1950s-set murder mystery with Saoirse Ronan and Sam Rockwell, is estimating a $3.1 million domestic debut from 2,404 locations.
Ti West’s “Pearl” also took in estimated $3.1 million. A24 released the film starring Mia Goth as a farmgirl who dreams of movie stardom on 2935 screens. The first film “X” opened $4.3 million in March and the studio has already greenlit a third film, “MaXXXine.”
Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr