Downton Abbey Box Office

“Downton Abbey” Delivers Royal Debut with $31 Million Opening.


September 20-22, 2019

(estimates from


Downton Abbey  $31 million
Ad Astra  $19.2 million
Rambo: Last Blood  $19 million
It: Chapter Two $17.2 million
Hustlers  $17 million

While it seemed like Brad Pitt's intellectual sci-fi movie would take on Sylvester Stallone's macho action flick, it was the deliberately not action-packed film that dominated the box office this weekend. Downton Abbey, the movie sequel to the British series that ended four years ago, led every film with an estimated $31 million. That's the biggest opening ever for the studio Focus, which started as a indie shingle for Universal and now serves as a home for modestly budgeted adult-aimed films.

Brad Pitt produced and starred in James Gray's big-budget foray Ad Astra. That's a smaller opening than Alita: Battle Angel or Dark Phoenix, so it will take strong word-of-mouth to become any sort of modest hit. Movie stars may still matter, but even they can't guarantee a big hit for something that's not based on IP audiences already have a fondness for. Still, it beat out Rambo: Last Blood. Its $19 million debut is slightly ahead of what the fourth film did more than a decade ago. There's a small possibility it becomes the fourth or even third biggest Rambo movie, but this seems like it will fade quickly.

It: Chapter Two dropped from first to fourth, with $17.2 million this weekend. That puts it in seventh place for the year so far and the No. 2 Stephen King adaptation. Hustlers dropped to fifth, becoming STX's fourth-biggest film ever in the process. Overall, this was one of the strongest weekends at the box office. While there was no massive opening, it's been years since each film in the top 5 made $17 million or more.

Outside the top 5:

  • This Weekend's Indie Champ: Where's My Roy Cohn?, the documentary on the influential, awful attorney. It averaged $10,591 on its four screens. You can read our review from Sundance here.
  • The Goldfinch fell even further into a spiral this weekend. It dropped a staggering 71 percent, earning an abysmal $770,000.
  • Official Secrets is basically being kept a secret. The Keira Knightley film, based on a true story, added 151 more screens, but still fell 49 percent.

Next week:

Kids will be feeling Abominable, as they'll be itching for their parents to take them to another kids' movie. The animated flick will take the top spot, but only with around $25 million. That's the only new wide release.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.