It is shaping up to be a very good month at the box office, as it looks to become the second biggest September in box-office history, behind 2017, when the first IT movie debuted. The sequel, IT Chapter 2 is leading away again this September, but each week of the month has seen another success story. This week is no different, as the crowd-pleasing animated film from Dreamworks and Pearl Studios, Abominable, takes the top spot, besting expectations by earning $20.2 million, one of the better showings for an animated film released in the fall.
The film has been a big hit with critics, following its debut at the Toronto Film Festival (80 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), but an even bigger hit with audiences, who give it an A Cinemascore and an audience score of 95 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. It succeeded despite the lack of big name voice actors, opting instead to use a largely Asian voiceover cast in support of a movie about a multi-generational Chinese family. The film also comes from director Jill Culton, who cut her teeth over on Pixar before becoming the first female principal director of a big budget, computer-animated feature, Open Season. The film, distributed by Universal, also becomes the studio’s 8th number one film of the year, which leads among all studios in 2019 (even Disney)!
Despite falling into second place, Downton Abbey nevertheless continues to perform well. It scored another $14.6 million for Focus Pictures, and after ten days, it has earned an impressive $58 million on a budget of about one-third of that, and it’s putting up equally impressive numbers overseas. Hustlers took $11.47 million in its third week, and has now earning a whopping $80.6 million ($95 million globally) on a modest $20 million budget.
After four weeks, IT: Chapter 2 is closing in on $200 million ($193 million) after earning $10.4 million this weekend. Globally, it’s now earned more than $415 million. Ad Astra almost fell into the single digits in its second weekend, earning $10.1 million to bring its total to $35 million. Its box-office overseas is about even with its American totals. Rambo: Last Blood, meanwhile, dipped down to number six, earning $8.5 million to bring its total to $33 million.
Renee Zellweger’s Judy Garland biopic, Judy, earned $3 million in its debut weekend, which is actually fairly impressive for an art film premiering in only 450 theaters. The film is not likely to make a lot of waves at the box office, but it could get enough exposure to earn Zellwegger an Oscar nomination for her performance in the title role.
Holdovers swallowed up what was left of the box office this weekend. Good Boys continues to hang in, earning $2.1 million in its seventh week and crossing the $80 million mark. Lion King, which continues to stick around in its 11th week, earned $1.7 million to bring its overall total to $540 million. Angel Has Fallen, meanwhile, hung in for one more week, its sixth, and put up $1.65 million to bring its total to $67.3 million. The $40 million film has now earned more than $120 million worldwide.
Next weekend, October should get off to a strong start with the release of Todd Phillips’ Joker, which is eyeing an $80 million opening. Natalie Portman and Jon Hamm’s Lucy in the Sky will also open in about 38 theaters to kick off a limited run.