The Spool / Box Office Report
Box Office Report: Gird Your Monocles, “Downton Abbey” Tops the Box Office
Waistcoats and pageantry rule the day at the box office, while Brad Pitt's cerebral sci-fi drama Ad Astra puts on a respectable showing.
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Waistcoats and pageantry rule the day at the box office, while Brad Pitt’s cerebral sci-fi drama puts on a respectable showing.

Downton Abbey made the leap from PBS to the big screen this weekend and managed to gross an impressive $31 million, the third-biggest opening weekend in history for a film adaptation of a live-action TV show maintaining that shows original cast (only the two Sex and the City movies did better). It’s also the biggest opening weekend in history for Focus Features and the first time one of their titles has grossed over $25 million on opening weekend while it’s also the fourteenth biggest opening weekend ever for a September release.

A popular TV show with marketing that promised fans everything they loved from the TV program, Downton Abbey was a recipe for success and managed to achieve its fullest potential. I’d prepare for 2 Downton 2 Abbey to get announced any day now.

Second and third place came in pretty close per the box office estimates so the arrangement of these next two titles may shift once the actuals come in. For now though, let’s move onto the second-biggest wide release of the weekend. Brad Pitt went to the stars with new release Ad Astra and a decent amount of moviegoers decided to join for the voyage. Grossing $19.2 million this weekend, Ad Astra was right in line with the opening weekends of past Brad Pitt September releases like Burn After Reading ($19 million) and Moneyball ($19.5 million).

20th Century Fox was likely hoping this $80 million budgeted sci-fi adventure would perform more like Gravity than Moneyball, but that ambition was always gonna be difficult to meet given that Ad Astra was a somber contemplative exercise instead of a thriller or an action movie. If overseas revenue is half-decent, Ad Astra will be fine in the long haul.

Next up we have Rambo: Last Blood, which grossed $19.1 million this weekend, a 5% improvement over the $18.2 million debut of Rambo from 2008. The lack of a big leap from its predecessor indicates Last Blood appealed only to Rambo die-hard fans rather than function as a big hit with all audiences like Creed.

Lord knows, though, a number of far more expensive sequels would have killed to open higher than their predecessor and this is still a fine bow for the newest (likely last?) Rambo movie that gives Lionsgate another solid box office performer in 2019.

It Chapter Two fell 56% this frame for a third-weekend gross of $17.2 million and a domestic gross to date of $179.1 million, putting it still on track for a domestic gross north of $200 million.  Hustlers fell 49% this frame and grossed another $17 million for a ten-day domestic total of $62.5 million.

At the very least, Hustlers looks poised for a $100-105 million domestic total, a fantastic result for this title. The Lion King had yet another excellent weekend-to-weekend hold this frame as it dipped just 29% for a tenth-weekend haul of $2.57 million for a domestic gross of $537.5 million.

Good Boys, meanwhile, dropped 40% this frame to add $2.51 million to its domestic cume that now stands at $77.3 million. Falling 46% this weekend was Angel Has Fallen, which took in $2.4 million for a domestic haul of $64.6 million. Overcomer dropped 45% this weekend, giving it a fourth-weekend haul of $1.5 million and a domestic gross of $31.5 million. Rounding out the top ten was Hobbs & Shaw, which duked out another $1.4 million for a current domestic haul of $170.6 million.

Brittany Runs a Marathon expanded into 1,033 locations this weekend but grossed only $1 million (a 29% drop from last weekend despite increasing its theater count by 37%) for a $1,000 per-theater average. Good news can be found in that Brittany has now grossed $5.2 million domestically, good enough to make it the eleventh-biggest limited release of 2019. The Peanut Butter Falcon fell 46% this weekend to add $990,000 to its domestic cume that now stands at $16.7 million while The Goldfinch dropped a steep 71% this weekend, grossing just $770,000 for a $4.55 million domestic gross. 

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice fell 36% this weekend, grossing another $436,600 in the process for a domestic gross of $1.6 million. Official Secrets expanded into 482 locations this frame, the fifth-widest theater count ever for an IFC Films release. Unfortunately, such an expansive release didn’t yield much in the way of box office as Official Secrets only grossed $265,714 (a 49% drop from last weekend despite the sizeable increase in theaters) for a per-theater average of $551 and a domestic haul of $1.4 million.

Promare debuted to $88,044 from 31 locations for a per-theater average of $2,840. In its second weekend of release, Monos expanded into 15 locations and grossed $52,493 for a per-theater average of $3,500 and a domestic gross of $121,645. Where’s My Roy Cohn? bowed to $42,364 from 4 locations this frame for a per-theater average of $10,591 while fellow limited release newcomer Loro opened to $5,567 from a single location.

The top twelve movies this weekend grossed $116.1 million, up 44% from this same weekend last year when The House With A Clock In Its Walls topped the box office. Impressively, this is also the biggest weekend ever in this timeframe, which can be chalked up to the fact that there are multiple new releases generating business rather than just one mega-tentpole hogging all the cash.

September 2019 has grossed about $531 million to date and while getting the extra $167 million needed over the next eight days to become the biggest September in history seems like a long shot, it does look like September 2019 is guaranteed to become one of the biggest Septembers in history at the domestic box office. You can chalk up that feat to the power of Jennifer Lopez and the might of Maggie Smith.