Is it true, as the saying goes, there is no such thing as bad publicity?
Don’t Worry Baby, a movie that has been overshadowed by relentless off-screen controversies in recent weeks, will test that adage when it premieres in more than 4,000 North American theaters over the weekend.
The Warner Bros movie, directed by Olivia Wilde and starring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles, is expected to make $18 million to $20 million in its opening weekend, suggesting that behind-the-scenes drama is not weighing on initial ticket sales. It might even be raising them. Some independent tracking services suggest opening revenues could be as high as $25 million, but anywhere in the teenage years would be a solid start for “Don’t Worry Baby,” which cost $35 million to produce.
Ratings for “Don’t Worry, Baby” weren’t too enthusiastic (the film has a 35% score on Rotten Tomatoes), but that probably won’t matter to Harry Styles fans, who are eager to see pop music in his first major movie role. According to tracking, presales have been strong with its core fan base, women aged 17-24.
The lead-up to “Don’t Worry, Darling” was filled with tabloid fodder, including but not limited to Wilde, as the film’s trailer was shown at the CinemaCon industry conference, where divorce papers are publicly presented on stage; Shia LaBeouf (who was initially set for the role that eventually went to Styles) disputes—with receipts—Wild’s claim that he was fired from the group; and Buff completely pull back from promotional efforts amid rumors of tension with Wilde.
Onscreen, the drama centers around Alice and Jack (played by Pugh and Styles), a newlywed couple living in a quaint experimental utopia called Victory — with killer mid-century modern homes and furnishings that would make Don Draper’s pulse racing. As the film progresses, Alice becomes increasingly suspicious that her husband’s top-secret company might be hiding disturbing secrets. Weld, Gemma Chan, Kiki Laine, Nick Kroll, and Chris Pine complete the cast.
in miscellaneous Reviewing, chief film critic Owen Gilberman praised “delicious dream pictures” and “pop ambition”, and writing “Don’t Worry Darling” should have no trouble finding an audience. But the film takes you on a journey that becomes progressively less shimmering with time.”
Although “Don’t Worry, Darling,” as the only new nationwide show, will easily lead the domestic box office charts, Disney’s re-release of “Avatar” looks set to pull in audiences with success as well.
Although tracking isn’t readily available for re-releases, advance ticket sales suggest “Avatar” could raise anywhere from $8 million to $10 million over the weekend, which is a huge hit for a 13-year-old movie, even if it does happen. This movie is the highest grossing international release in history. It’s also a positive sign for “Avatar: The Way of Water,” director James Cameron’s decade-long sequel that is set to hit theaters in December.
At the very least, the re-release means movie players have 3D glasses in stock to keep up.