Three new wide releases offered an auspicious start to the fall box office season after a lackluster summer failed to recoup the deficit.
In first place, Focus Features’ “Downton Abbey” film adaptation opened with an impressive $31 million, according to estimates from measurement firm Comscore. Analysts projected the film would earn around $20 million.
The result is the biggest opening ever for Focus Features, beating previous record holder “Insidious: Chapter 3" which earned $22.7 million in 2015.
“Downton Abbey” began its international rollout last weekend, earning $11.7 million in 17 countries and posting the No. 1 opening in the United Kingdom with $6.3 million. This week, it added $10 million in international receipts for a global cumulative of $61.8 million.
The long-awaited revival of the beloved British TV drama comes three years after the ITV series stopped airing in the U.S. as part of PBS’ Masterpiece Classics. Michael Engler, who helmed several episodes, directed the film while series creator Julian Fellowes penned the script.
The film picks up about a year and a half from the events of the series finale and centers around how the Earl of Grantham and his family prepare for a visit from the king and queen of England. Almost all the series’ original cast members returned for the movie including Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Maggie Smith and Hugh Bonneville.
It was well-received with an A CinemaScore and an 85% “fresh” rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.
In second place, Fox’s Brad Pitt space drama “Ad Astra” debuted with $19.2 million, slightly above analyst projections of $17 million.
Directed by James Gray, the film follows an astronaut (Pitt) on a dangerous mission to uncover the truth about his missing father, a renegade scientist played by Tommy Lee Jones.
Despite its warm reception at the Venice Film Festival, the film struggled to resonate with moviegoers posting a B- CinemaScore despite an 81% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
At No. 3, Lionsgate and Millennium Films’ “Rambo: Last Blood” premiered with $19 million, within range of analyst predictions of $17 million to $20 million.
The finale to the long-running Sylvester Stallone action franchise comes more than a decade after the studios initially rebooted the series with 2008’s poorly reviewed “Rambo.” That film opened with $18 million on its way to $113 million in worldwide ticket sales.
The series kicked off in 1982 with Orion Films’ “First Blood.” Since then the 73-year-old Stallone’s star power has added fuel to other successful franchises including the recent “Creed” spinoffs from “Rocky,” as well as the “Expendables” series.
“Last Blood” earned a B CinemaScore but a 31% “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
In fourth place, Warner Bros.’ and New Line Cinema’s “It Chapter Two” added $17.2 million in its third weekend (a 56% drop) for a cumulative $179.2 million. The film currently stands at $385.1 million globally.
Rounding out the top five, STX Entertainment’s “Hustlers” added $17 million in its second weekend (a 49% drop) for a cumulative $62.5 million. It currently stands at $72 million in global receipts.
At No. 6, Disney’s “The Lion King” added $2.6 million in its tenth weekend for a cumulative $537.6 million.
In seventh place, Universal’s “Good Boys” added $2.5 million in its sixth weekend for a cumulative $77.3 million.
At No. 8, Lionsgate’s “Angel Has Fallen” added $2.4 million in its fifth weekend for a cumulative $64.7 million.
In ninth place, Sony’s “Overcomer” added $1.5 million in its fifth weekend for a cumulative $31.6 million.
Rounding out the top 10, Universal’s “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” added $1.46 million in its eighth weekend for a cumulative $170.6 million.
In limited release, Gunpowder & Sky opened “Villains” on 100 screens to $149,969 for a per-screen average of $1,499.
Sony Pictures Classics opened “Where’s My Roy Cohn?” on four screens to $42,364 for a per-screen average of $10,591.
IFC Films opened “Loro” in one location to $5,567.
Neon and Participant expanded “Monos” into 10 additional locations (for a total of 15) to $52,493 for a per-screen average of $3,500 and a cumulative $121,645.
Amazon expanded “Brittany Runs A Marathon” into 1,033 locations in its fifth weekend to $1 million for a per-screen average of $1,011 and a cumulative $5.3 million.
This week, Universal releases the animation “Abominable.” In limited release, Roadside Attractions opens the Judy Garland drama “Judy” and IFC Films reveals the comedy “The Day Shall Come.”