'Hustlers' and J-Lo soar, 'It Chapter Two' keeps top US movie spot

LOS ANGELES, Sonaiya Kelley, Los Angeles Times (tca/dpa)- Although "It Chapter Two" topped the box office for a second consecutive weekend, STX Entertainment's "Hustlers" was the big winner, posting a career-best opening for stars Jennifer Lopez and "Crazy Rich Asians" actress Constance Wu.
Warner Brothers' "It" sequel added 40.7 million dollars in its second weekend of release for a cumulative 153.8 million dollars, according to estimates from measurement firm Comscore. It currently stands at 323.3 million dollars in worldwide receipts.

In second place, "Hustlers" debuted with 33.2 million dollars, the best start ever for the studio and the biggest live-action opening for both Lopez (ahead of "Monster-in-Law's" 23.1 million dollars in 2005) and Wu (topping "Crazy Rich Asians'" 26 million dollars last year). Analysts initially projected the film would earn about 25 million dollars in domestic ticket sales.
In the movie, Lopez plays a seasoned stripper who, alongside Wu, Keke Palmer and Lili Reinhart, runs a racket scamming Wall Street bankers in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Music artists Cardi B and Lizzo provide supporting roles.
The picture's opening weekend hit key demographics with an audience that was 67 per cent female and 69 per cent over age 25. The results rewarded STX's outreach efforts attracting diverse moviegoers with 36 per cent white, 26 per cent African American, 27 per cent Latino, 9 per cent Asian and 3 per cent Native American or other ethnicities. Directed by Lorene Scafaria, the film was inspired by a 2015 New York Magazine article. The movie earned a B-minus CinemaScore but an 87 per cent "fresh" rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.
The 20-million-dollar film is a much-needed win for STX, which has struggled to produce breakout hits recently. Although the studio's Kevin Hart comedy-drama "The Upside" (a remake of the French movie "The Intouchables") was a surprise hit, STX has also had several high-profile flops this year, including "UglyDolls" and "Poms."
At No. 3, Lionsgate's "Angel Has Fallen" added 4.4 million dollars in its fourth weekend for a cumulative 60.4 million dollars.
In fourth place, Universal's "Good Boys" added 4.3 million dollars in its fifth weekend for a cumulative 73.3 million dollars.
Rounding out the top five, Disney's "The Lion King" added 3.5 million dollars in its ninth weekend for a cumulative 534 million dollars. It is now at 1.6 billion dollars globally.
At No. 6, Universal's "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw" added 2.8 million dollars in its seventh weekend for a cumulative 168.3 million dollars.
In seventh place, Sony's "Overcomer" added 2.7 million dollars in its fourth weekend for a cumulative 29 million dollars.
At No. 8, the weekend's second wide release, Warner Bros.' "The Goldfinch," bombed with 2.6 million dollars, far below analyst projections of 7 to 12 million dollars. The result is one of the worst starts ever for a movie opening in more than 2,500 cinemas.
The 40-million-dollar picture, based on the 2013 Donna Tartt novel of the same name, stars Ansel Elgort as a young adult grappling with the death of his mother in a bombing at New York'sMetropolitan Museum of Art. It earned a B CinemaScore and a 25 per cent "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Warner Bros. has also struggled at the box office this year with recent misses including "Blinded by the Light" and "The Kitchen."
In ninth place, Roadside Attractions' "The Peanut Butter Falcon" added 1.92 million dollars in its sixth weekend for a cumulative 15 million dollars.
Rounding out the top 10, Paramount's "Dora and the Lost City of Gold" added 1.85 million dollars in its sixth weekend for a cumulative 56.7 million dollars.
In limited release, Neon opened "Monos" in five locations to 43,285 dollars for a per-screen average of 8,657 dollars.
Abramorama opened "Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements" in one location to 7,120 dollars.
Variance Films released Shudder's Japanese zombie comedy "One Cut of the Dead" on two screens to 6,200 dollars for a per-screen average of 3,100 dollars.
"Brittany Runs a Marathon," Amazon Studios' film starring Jillian Bell, added more than 500 locations, to 757, earning 1.6 million dollars in its fourth weekend for a per-screen average of 2,048 dollars and a cumulative 3.8 million dollars.
"Official Secrets," IFC Films' true-life spy thriller starring Keira Knightley, expanded into 330 locations in its third week, earning 571,560 dollars for a per-screen average of 1,732 dollars and a cumulative 957,071 dollars.
Greenwich Entertainment and 1091 expanded the documentary "Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice" into 220 locations from seven, earning 734,636 dollars for a per-screen average of 3,339 dollars and a cumulative 889,879 dollars.
Oscilloscope Labs expanded "Ms. Purple" into four locations from one last weekend, earning 13,650 dollars for a per-screen average of $3,413 and a cumulative 31,878 dollars.
Music Box Films expanded "Edie" into nine locations from seven last weekend, earning 10,797 dollars for a per-screen average of 1,200 dollars and a cumulative 26,446 dollars.
In advance of its domestic release this weekend, Universal's "Downton Abbey" began its international roll-out, earning 11.7 million dollars in 17 markets including the U.K., where it posted the No. 1 opening of the weekend with 6.3 million dollars.
Also opening this week are Fox's Brad Pitt sci-fi thriller "Ad Astra" and Lionsgate's action movie "Rambo: Last Blood."

Monday, September 16th 2019
Sonaiya Kelley, Los Angeles Times (tca/dpa)

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