‘The Woman King’ shows why the box office needs more mid-budget movies

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Viola Davis stars in Sony’s “The Woman King.”
Sony

“The Woman King” held firm at the box office during its second weekend in theaters.

The Sony film is expected to generate $11.2 million in ticket sales domestically from Friday through Sunday, a 42% drop from its opening weekend. Typically, blockbuster films will drop 50% to 70% from their first weekend to their second weekend.

“Proof that ”The Woman King’ is in it for the long haul is reflected in its 42% second-weekend drop,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “As expected, great word of mouth and awards season buzz has helped the film to become a must-see movie event.”

Box-office analysts expect “The Woman King” will easily recoup its $50 million production budget and has the potential to expand to a broader audience as word of mouth spreads, much like Paramount and Skydance’s “Top Gun: Maverick” has in recent months.

Additionally, Warner Bros.‘ “Don’t Worry Darling,” a film with a $35 million production budget, is expected to haul in $19.2 million during its opening weekend domestically.

“The Woman King” and “Don’t Worry Darling” are a welcome injection of business for theaters during a lull in the theatrical calendar and for studios building up their pipeline of original content and adult-driven dramas. Lower-budget films like this don’t make explosive box office numbers but provide much-needed supplementary revenue to cinemas.

Production delays caused by the coronavirus outbreak coupled with a push to place content on streaming services has led to a smaller number of theatrical releases in 2022, compared to pre-pandemic times. So far this year, only 50 films have been released domestically in more than 2,000 locations, that’s down nearly 40% from 2019.

While big-budget franchise films dominate the box office charts, films with small-to-mid budgets are equally important to the theatrical ecosystem. Without them, the domestic box office loses out on billions in ticket revenue.

“‘The Woman King’ is another great example of original content connecting with and inspiring moviegoers on its course for a lengthy box office run that could be capped by award season nominations in the months ahead,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com.

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