‘Don’t Worry Darling’ tops box office amid feud reports

Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Don’t Worry Darling” was a no-brainer at the domestic box office this weekend, debuting in first place at $19.2 million, according to Comscore estimates.

The period drama played about as well as expected, as rumors and reports of behind-the-scenes conflict continue to fuel enthusiasm for the film. Rounding out the top 3 at the domestic box office were Sony Pictures’ The Woman King, which added $11.1 million in its second weekend for a total of $36.3 million in North America; and a re-release of 20th Century Studios’ Avatar, which grossed $10 million in its first weekend in theaters.

Directed by Olivia Wilde, Don’t Worry Darling stars Florence Pugh and Harry Styles as a married couple living in an idyllic 1950s community with dark secrets. The psychological thriller also stars Wilde, Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne and Chris Pine.

After a star-studded premiere at the Venice Film Festival earlier this month, Don’t Worry Darling earned a dismal 38% rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes and a lackluster B-Minus mark from viewers polled by CinemaScore.

“‘Don’t Worry Darling’, for all its dark undercurrents and subversive feints, turns out to be a disappointingly heavy hit of a movie,” writes film critic Justin Chang for the Los Angeles Times.

“It’s a nicely put together, increasingly transparent thriller that stomps when it should sneak and drags when it should accelerate. Mainly it is reminiscent of the many earlier, better images that it is consciously modeled on; I hate to name too many of them and risk spoiling the story’s meager surprises.”

Cold critical reception aside, Don’t Worry Darling has managed to lure in moviegoers despite — or maybe because of — all the controversies that surround it.

For those who weren’t paying attention, the film’s promotional campaign was constantly being compromised – and/or boosted? — through sizzling headlines teasing an on-set romance between Wilde and Styles, a custody battle between Wilde and her ex (Jason Sudeikis), an exposed spitting incident involving Styles and Pine, a public disagreement between Wilde and ex-actress Shia LaBeouf, and a feud behind the scenes between Wilde and Pugh.

That last point was recently disputed by 40 members of the Don’t Worry Darling production crew, who vehemently denied a Vulture report that claimed Wilde and Pugh got into a “screaming match” on set.

“We have avoided addressing the absurd gossip surrounding the film of which we are so proud, but feel compelled to correct the anonymous ‘sources’ cited in a recent article,” the crew members said in Saturday a joint statement seen by The Times.

“All allegations of unprofessional behavior on the set of ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ are completely false. Olivia is an incredible director and director who was present and involved with every aspect of the production. She ran this set with class and respect for everyone involved. There was never a screaming match between our director and anyone, let alone a member of our cast.”

Pugh – who has been cutting back on her press duties for Don’t Worry Darling while filming the Dune sequel – made an effusive statement on Friday about working on the film. She also posted several behind-the-scenes photos, including a snap of her and Wilde enjoying each other’s company on set.

“Thanks to everyone who bought tickets and those who have already seen it,” Pugh wrote on Instagram.

“This film was such an epic story on such a large scale that it was able to be shot during the peak times of Covid. I will always be grateful for that. To all of you who have contributed, your devotion and love was seen on a daily basis – thank you.”

Paramount Pictures’ “Smile” and Universal Pictures’ “Bros” will hit theaters next weekend.

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2022-09-25/dont-worry-darling-box-office-olivia-wilde-florence-pugh-harry-styles ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ tops box office amid feud reports

Sarah Ridley

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