Strippers Scare Clown At Box Office

There was a box office showdown this weekend at theaters across North America between a demonic clown and a gang of scheming strippers. While the clown emerged triumphant in the end, it was the exotic dancers who made the biggest impression.

STX’s Hustlers, the acclaimed Lorene Scafaria drama starring Jennifer Lopez, opened to numbers that far exceeded what had been forecast in the days leading up to its debut. The start was sizeable enough to not only knock Warner’s IT: Chapter Two from the number one spot on Friday the 13th; it was also good enough to come close to becoming the nation’s new number one film.

A bigger screen count, however, was what eventually helped IT: Chapter Two to come out on top. The final battle between the Losers Club and Pennywise fought 55% less valiant in its second round on 4,570 screens, which resulted in an estimated $40.7 million weekend. Ten days in, IT: Chapter Two has netted a domestic gross of $153.8 million and an international gross of $169.5 million.

This weekend’s numbers for IT: Chapter Two were approximately 35% lower than the $60 million IT pulled in during its sophomore session two years ago. Should the new film continue on this trajectory, Chapter Two could finish with just over $210 million. A fine showing for the $90 million sequel, even if it would be over $100 million less than what the first chapter took in.

STX Films has had a box office year that can be summed up in one small word: awful. While the independent studio started the year off on the right foot with the $108 million-grossing The Upside, box office disasters such as Uglydolls, Poms and The Best of Enemies found the studio tripping its way into financial trouble. It’s a bit of an understatement to say that STX was in desperate need for a hit, and they seem to have found one in the new drama Hustlers.

Based on a New York magazine article from 2015 -and featuring an ensemble cast that includes Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Cardi B, Keke Palmer and Lili Reinhart, – the $20 million Hustlers arrived on 3,250 screens Friday where it danced away with a terrific $33.23 million.

Hustlers’ debut marked not only the biggest opening for a Jennifer Lopez-headlined film, but also for a film released by STX, whose previous record holder was Bad Moms with $23.8 million. Nearly 70% of the opening weekend crowds were women –a demographic both the studio and the film’s stars aggressively marketed to- and nearly the same percentage was over the age of 25.

Backing the effective marketing campaign was strong feedback from the critics, who began to champion the film following its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. The press gave Hustlers an 87% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 79/100 on Metacritic. Opening day ticket buyers polled on CinemaScore, on the other hand, were a little less enthused with the film. They gave Hustlers a middling “B-.”

Elsewhere in the top ten, it was another round of fading summer titles grabbing their last bits of box office cash. Lionsgate’s Angel Has Fallen still has some fight left in it as the action flick landed in third place with an estimated $4.4 million from 3,076 theaters. Down only 26% from one week ago, Angel Has Fallen has pulled in $60.3 million after one month of release.

Universal’s Good Boys continued to laugh it up in fourth place with an estimated $4.26 million from 2,736 theaters. The domestic total for the popular R-rated comedy now stands at $73.3 million.

Rounding out the top five in its ninth weekend was Disney’s The Lion King with an estimated $3.5 million from 2,365 screens. Right now the only film around for the family crowd, The Lion King has commanded $534 million in domestic ticket sales. Overseas, Simba has ruled over $1.083 billion in ticket sales.

  1. Hobbs and Shaw (Universal) $2.77 million (-27%); $168.3 million
  2. Overcomer (Sony) $2.73 million (-26%); $29 million
  3. The Goldfinch (Warner) $2.6 million; NEW
  4. The Peanut Butter Falcon (Roadside) $1.9 million (-10%); $15 million
  5. Dora (Paramount) $1.85 million (-21%); $56.7 million

Next weekend sees the arrival of Ad Astra, Downton Abbey and Rambo: Last Blood. 

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