Olivia Wilde’s “Don’t Worry Darling” scored $3.1 million at the Thursday night box office, debuting at more than 3,300 locations before it expands to more than 4,000 theaters this weekend.
According to Warner Bros.’ projections, the New Line Cinema film will earn $17 million from its opening weekend. Independent projections put that number at $18 million to $20 million. According to reports, its budget falls in the mid-$20 million range.
The Florence Pugh and Harry Styles-starring psychological thriller premieres opposite Disney’s re-release of “Avatar” (2009), a few months before its sequel “The Way of Water” hits theaters. The David Bowie documentary “Moonage Daydream” expands wide after last week’s successful limited opening of $1.6 million. Meanwhile, the Viola Davis vehicle “The Woman King,” continues a strong run following its $19 million opening last weekend.
Wilde’s first feature, 2019’s “Booksmart,” made $875,000 in Thursday previews and went on to earn $8 million its opening weekend. For another comparison, New Line’s 2018 horror-thriller “The Nun” made $5.4 million in Thursday box office previews. In Sept. 2021, New Line released the horror movie “Malignant” to a $5.4 million opening weekend.
“Don’t Worry Darling” unfolds in the 1950s community of Victory, a utopian town built to house the men who work on the mysterious Victory Project and their families. Married couple Alice (Pugh) and Jack (Styles) seemingly have it all, until Alice begins to question the nature of their reality and the true mission of the company and its cult-like CEO, Frank (Chris Pine).
The cast also includes Wilde, Gemma Chan, Kiki Layne, Kate Berlant, Nick Kroll, Sydney Chandler, Asif Ali, Douglas Smith and Timothy Simons.
Wilde directs from a script by “Booksmart” screenwriter Katie Silberman, based on a story by Silberman, Cary Van Dyke and Shane Van Dyke. The film is produced by Wilde, Silberman, Miri Yoon and Roy Lee. Executive producers are Richard Brener, Celia Khong, Alex G. Scott, Catherine Hardwicke, Carey Van Dyke and Shane Van Dyke.
“Don’t Worry Darling” premiered at Venice Film Festival earlier this month to mixed reviews, with a current Rotten Tomatoes critic score of 35%. Audiences were much more enthusiastic, receiving the film with an 87% score. It remains to be seen whether the behind-the-scenes controversy surrounding the film (including Wilde and Pugh’s rumored feud and Spitgate) will help or hurt its performance at the box office.