The film continuation of popular ITV and PBS series “Downton Abbey” is headed for a $31 million opening weekend following a superb $13.8 million domestic haul on Friday.
That makes it the biggest opening ever for distributor Focus Features, ahead of “Insidious: Chapter 3” ($22.7 million), and well above expectations for the film which were in the low $20 million range. Both critics and audience reviews for the film have been very positive, and overseas it collected a further $41 million.
The two other newcomers however are proving a stark contrast in terms of reaction as both duked it out for second place. The Brad Pitt-led “Ad Astra” has been a hit with critics but weak with audiences (82% vs. 45% on Rotten Tomatoes), however its fairing ok with an estimated $19.2 million opening weekend debut.
“Rambo: Last Blood” had the opposite reaction, the critics loathing it but audiences have warmed to it (27% vs. 85% on Rotten Tomatoes) and the film taking in $19.0 million. It has pulled ahead of 2008’s “Rambo,” the previous entry into the series which opened to $18.2 million, and is coming in on track with early estimates.
“IT: Chapter Two” came in fourth with around $17.2 million while “Hustlers” is holding strong, in fifth with a projected $17 million. Last weekend’s notable flop “The Goldfinch” plummeted from eighth to fifteenth – taking in just $760,000 in its second weekend.