Smith Stooge Slaps Sly, Pitt at Box Office

It was a great weekend for adult-themed films at the North America box office as the long-awaited film version of Downton Abbey led the pack by a wide margin. The British drama not only set an opening weekend record for Focus Features, it also easily beat fellow new arrivals Ad Astra and Rambo: Last Blood by a sizable margin.

Overall, the September box office continued to get rid of the lingering stench of August by offering product people actually want to see. Overall, the top ten was up a healthy 17% over last weekend’s numbers and a massive 45% over business from one year ago at this time when The House With A Clock In Its Walls debuted with $32.2 million.

Proving that event films come in all shapes and sizes, longtime fans of the ITV/PBS television production Downton Abbey turned out in large numbers this weekend for the big screen debut of the beloved series, which resulted in a posh $31 million from 3,079 venues. The debut easily surpassed the $22.6 million opening record set by Focus’ Insidious Chapter 3 back in June of 2015.

A whopping 74% of the opening weekend crowd was female and 60% were over the age of 35.

Reviews for the film were just as good as they were for the televisions series. Critics gave the new Abbey an 85% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 64/100 on Metacritic. Not surprisingly, the fans gave Downton Abbey a rock solid “A” on CinemaScore.

Overseas, Downton Abbey has earned $30.8 million after two weeks of release.

Orbiting in second place with a so-so $19.2 million start was Fox/Disney’s brainy, expensive sci-fi flick Ad Astra. Directed by James Gray and starring Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga and Donald Sutherland, Astra was well received by critics but was met with lukewarm feedback from the public. The $100 million production scored an 82% approval on Rotten Tomatoes, an 80/100 from Metacritic and a middling “B-“ from ticket buyers on CinemaScore.

Nipping at Ad Astra’s heels in third place was Lionsgate’s Rambo: Last Blood with an estimated $19 million from 3,618 screens. The critics eviscerated the fifth installment of the 37-year-old Sylvester Stallone franchise, the first Rambo offering in over a decade. Last Blood scored a bloody awful 29% on Rotten Tomatoes and an equally tepid 29/100 on Metacritic. The $50 million Blood connected more with the general public, who gave the film a “B” on CinemaScore.

After clowning around in the top spot for two weeks, Warner’s IT: Chapter Two fell from first to fourth place to take in an estimated $17.2 million from 4,156 theaters. Down 56% in its third weekend, Pennywise and The Losers have conjured up $179.1 million so far in North America and an additional $200 million from overseas markets.

Rounding out the top five was Hustlers, which had itself a sexy little second weekend. The Jennifer Lopez hit decreased a mere 49% to earn an estimated $17 million from 3,525 theaters. The ten-day total for Hustlers stands at $62.6 million. The film is now set to become the second STX Entertainment release to hit the $100 million mark in 2019 following last winter’s The Upside.

  1. The Lion King (Disney) $2.57 million (-29%); $537.5 million
  2. Good Boys (Universal) $2.51 million (-41%); $77.3 million
  3. Angel Has Fallen (Lionsgate) $2.4 million (-47%); $64.6 million
  4. Overcomer (Sony) $1.5 million (-45%); $31.5 million
  5. Hobbs and Shaw (Universal) $1.46 million (-48%); $170.6 million

Next weekend sees the arrival of only one new film: Dreamworks’ animated Abominable on over 4,100 screens. Depending on how well Downton Abbey holds up in its second round, Abominable might be able to land a number one debut.

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