STXfilms’ Hustlers, as anticipated, is off to a fantastic start for the weekend with $2.5M. That’s a figure that’s higher than Universal’s Girls Trip ($1.7M), STX’s Bad Moms ($2M) and Paramount’s Rocketman ($2.3M).
The Jennifer Lopez-Constance Wu-Lili Reinhart pic, which was made for $20.7M before P&A, is expected to make at least $20M this weekend, with tracking and others betting Hustlers’ dance ends between $25M-$30M. The project was passed over by Annapurna roughly a year ago with STX taking a shot at the feature adaptation of the New York Magazine article “The Hustlers at Scores” by Jessica Pressler with Lorene Scafaria writing and directing. Hustlers plays in 3,250 theaters today. Anything over $23.1M this weekend for Hustlers reps a live-action opening record for Lopez, besting her 2005 high Monster in Law, and anything over $23.8M is a record opening for STX, which is greatly in need of a hit after the UglyDolls debacle. Hustlers is produced by Jessica Elbaum, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Jennifer Lopez, Benny Medina, Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. EPs are Adam Fogelson, Robert Simonds, Pamela Thur, Alex Brown, and Megan Ellison.
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Yesterday in regular release, New Line’s It Chapter Two led all pics with $4M, -12% from Wednesday for a first week of $113.1M, pacing 29% behind the first week of Chapter One which made $158.7M. The Andy Muschietti directed sequel is expected to lead the box office with a second weekend around $36M, -60%. In second on Thursday was Millennium/Lionsgate’s Angel Has Fallen with $515K, -8% at 3,229 for a third week of $8.5M and a running total of $56M, which is 6% ahead of previous installment London Has Fallen which finaled stateside with $62.5M.
TIFF is a launchpad where films can prime themselves for great riches, or completely explode. Hustlers had no problems with critics at TIFF, who loved it with a 95% fresh score, while they shot down John Crowley’s The Goldfinch at 29% Rotten. That latter Warner Bros. pic based on the Donna Tartt bestseller is unfortunately expected to die this weekend with a mid-single digit gross, not enough for its $45M production before P&A. What can we say? Stripper pics are easy at the B.O., orphan dramas are hard. Warners didn’t hold any previews last night for Goldfinch.