Dont Worry Darling, a 1950s suburban drama from Olivia Wildes, grossed $3.1 million between Monday and Thursday screenings starting at 4 p.m. These early figures support Warners' projection that the film might surpass $20 million for the weekend.
Similar cases have shown that the bigger Thursday shows usually account for two thirds or more of the gross. If so, that would suggest at least $2 million Thursday. The Woman King (Sony) had a $1.7 million budget, which was part of a $19 million weekend.
The film Darling, which includes Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, and Chris Pine, has a price tag of less than $35 million, less than Woman King. It has a similar female appeal, although the expectation is that Wildes' film will be younger. Harry Styles will appeal to an 18-24-year-old audience, but his R rating will limit his younger fans' ability to see it.
Analysis is limited by not knowing the breakdown between Monday and Thursday, but reports of good or better crowds suggest positive word of mouth. It will take at least until Saturday to determine whether or not the reaction is positive. Cinemascore will publish its findings late Friday night.
Courttesy Everett C/Willer Bros
We assume Darling will make at least $20 million in weekends, which would result in two consecutive weekends where women are ranked #1. Both are original films with midrange budgets (Woman King was $50 million).
Darling will have more dates than any previous film directed by a woman in 4,113 theaters across the United States and Canada. That is impressive. At different times, among different companies with streaming outlets (including Warners), this might have been considered a candidate for a day-and-date or a streaming debut. That is not the case under WBD's new management.
In the midst of a stormy exhibition, Darling's theatrical triumph would be a comforting note. Beyond that, it's critical for other concepts that have much longer-term implications: Ticket buyers respond to non-franchise titles, and female-interest films are key to box office recovery. Beyond that, success is possible.