Weekend Box Office: ‘Downton Abbey’ Stuns with $31 Million; ‘Ad Astra’ Takes #2

     September 22, 2019

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Focus Features is having a heck of a time with Downton Abbey being a veritable cash cow at the box office during its opening weekend. The movie, a continuation of the story laid out in the popular TV series of the same name created and written by Julian Fellowes, earned $31 million domestically in its opening weekend. As was the case on Friday, the international receipts for Downton Abbey were almost neck-and-neck with the domestic ones. Overseas, the movie pulled in $30 million, making for a $61.8 million global gross.

This is pretty major for a movie of Downton‘s ilk. The show has accrued a strong and passionate fanbase over the years, so it was always expected that they would turn out for this feature-length film’s release. But it’s also fair to say the bar was likely set a bit lower than normal because Downton was going to have to fight for audiences as it went up against fellow newcomers Ad Astra and Rambo: Last Blood, respectively starring Brad Pitt and Sylvester Stallone, two A-listers who have been able to open movies to great rewards in the past.

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Image via 20th Century Fox

The key, as it turns out, is catering to female audiences (who woulda thunk it?), as was the case with Hustlers during its opening weekend. Per Variety‘s analysis of this weekend’s box office, Downton‘s tickets sales had a female majority of 74% and 60% of those female ticket buyers were over age 35. Even more jaw-dropping, Downton averaged $10,000 per theater at the 3,079 theaters it was shown at this weekend. Add to this a peachy keen “A” CinemaScore plus lots of clamor to see how Fellowes continued the Downton saga into 1920s Britain and the movie’s success was arguably all but assured.

Fear not, because movies featuring men fraught with anguish over family-based trauma were plentiful at the box office this weekend, too, thanks to the aforementioned Ad Astra and Last Blood. Both currently boast a “B” CinemaScore and raked in relatively similar amounts of cabbage in their opening weekends. Ad Astra got the number two spot with $19.2 million earned domestically but did even better overseas, earning $26 million. Last Blood pulled in an even $19 million which, as Fandango’s Erik Davis noted in his assessment, makes for the second-best Rambo opening in the franchise’s history.

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Image via STX Entertainment

Coming in at number four is IT: Chapter Two, doing decently with $17.2 million earned in the U.S. as well as overseas this weekend. At number six is director Lorene Scafaria‘s Hustlers, starring Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu as the stripper ringleaders of a scam intended to take as much money as possible from their Wall Street clientele post-2008 recession. The movie raked in $17 million flat in the U.S. in its second theatrical weekend, approximately half of what it made in its opening weekend. It seems to be having a more interesting run overseas, with its international gross currently at $9.8 million. All told, Hustlers is currently sitting at more than $72 million worldwide.

Holding steady in the middle of the chart is Disney’s live-action remake of The Lion King, bringing in $2.6 million domestically and taking the number six spot. At number seven is Good Boys, earning $2.5 million domestically. And at number eight is Angel Has Fallen with $2.4 million pocketed here in the U.S.

Hanging on in the ninth spot in the charts is the faith-based film Overcomer, which earned $1.5 million domestically this weekend. At number 10 is Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw. The Dwayne JohnsonJason Statham action flick, now closing out its eighth weekend in theaters, added $1.5 million to its total $171 million domestic earnings. We’ll likely see a dip with this one’s earnings as the film will be available on Digital on October 15. Sure, that sounds like it’s still far away and therefore not a threat. However, potential audiences could opt to just wait a few weeks, save some money on gas, and watch it at home rather than head to the theater in this two-week interim.

Next weekend, the Renee Zellweger-starring Judy Garland biopic, Judy, is arriving in theaters as well as DreamWorks Animation’s latest, Abominable. With the former getting awards buzz and the latter serving as a treat for families, these two could bump out some of the current top 10 movies with their ticket sales and get themselves a prime spot on the chart.

Rank Title Weekend Total
1. Downton Abbey $31,000,000 $31,000,000
2. Ad Astra $19,210,000 $19,210,000
3. Rambo: Last Blood $19,015,000 $19,015,000
4. IT: Chapter Two $17,245,000 $179,165,563
5. Hustlers $17,000,000 $62,553,213
6. The Lion King (2019) $ 2,572,000 $537,592,304
7. Good Boys $2,510,000 $77,305,605 
8. Angel Has Fallen $2,400,000 $64,689,679
9. Overcomer $1,500,000 $31,567,203
10. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw $1,460,000 $170,613,810

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