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Stars, drama propel ‘Darling’ to No. 1

Harry Styles, Florence Pugh star in box office winner

Harry Styles and Florence Pugh star in "Don't Worry Darling."

Greg W. Locke

Whatzup Features Writer

Published September 28, 2022

The top two films at the U.S. box office right now were directed by women, Olivia Wilde and Gina Prince-Bythewood. How about that? 

Wilde’s second feature, Don’t Worry Darling, opened as the No. 1 movie at last weekend’s box office, selling a decent enough $19 million over its first three days of release. The flick has already brought back in $30 million of its $35 million production budget when you consider foreign markets. Not bad. 

Obviously, it goes without saying that the on-set drama surrounding this film that stars Wilde, Florence Pugh, Chris Pine, and it boy Harry Styles fueled a lot of interest, and ultimately did get people out to the theater. Reviews have been largely bad, though a lot of writers are really loving the cinematography and production design. Judging from what I saw in the trailer, they’re correct. Looks pretty to me. I don’t think I’ll go to the theater to support this one, but I’ll definitely check it out once its streaming.

Also at the box

Last weekend’s box office champ, The Woman King, directed by Prince-Bythewood continued to roll, taking the No. 2 spot over its second weekend of release, bringing in another $11 million, upping the its 10-day sales total to $36 million in the U.S. Not bad! 

A re-release of James Cameron’s truly lame Avatar took the No. 3 spot at the domestic box office with another $10 million in sales. I can remember being a know-it-all 20-something when the film first came out and referring to it as, “Oh, you mean that mega church of a movie?” 

A couple horror flicks, Barbarian and Pearl, took the No. 4 and No. 5 spots, respectively, bringing in $4.8 million and $1.9 million. Can’t wait to see Pearl. Director Ti West forever. 

Also of note: Sanaa Lathan’s On the Come Up opened on 603 screens. This is a small movie that I’m hoping finds its audience. Looks very promising to me.

New this week

Horror fans will get Smile and those looking for a laugh can check out Billy Eichner’s Bros. Those should likely be the big new hits of the weekend. 

Also look for Avatar to continue to fill seats. My fingers are crossed that On the Come Up, which is streaming on Paramount+, gets some word-of-mouth and eventually gets an expansion. Would be such a cool early fall hit. 

Several other flicks will start to screen in large markets, including a reissue of the little-seen Francis Ford Coppola horror film Twixt, starring Elle Fanning and Val Kilmer. Also starting to screen will be Alex/October, The Good House, Masking Threshold, Art & Krimes by Krimes, Wolf Pack, God’s Creatures, Vesper, Vikram Vedha, and Never Forgotten

Wow, there sure are a lot of not-good-looking movies being made these days.


The Oscar predictions are already starting to trickle out. Variety recently released a ranking of the films likely to compete for Best Picture nomination, with seven of the 10 yet to be released: The Fabelmans (Nov. 11), Women Talking (Dec. 2), The Banshees of Inisherin (Oct. 21), Tár (Oct. 7), Everything Everywhere All at Once, Top Gun: Maverick, Empire of Light (Dec. 9), Elvis, The Son (Nov. 11), and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Nov. 3).

Okay, cool. Doesn’t feel like a classic movie year to me, but could be worse. I’m not sure that Glass Onion, Elvis, or Top Gun are films that should get Best Picture nominations, but we’ll see. 

Also, what about the big industry flicks like Avatar: The Way of Water and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever? And how about the art films like The Whale, Bardo, Triangle of Sadness, Bones and All, White Noise, and She Said

The next few months of releases look really good to me. Fingers crossed.


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