EXCLUSIVE, UPDATED with quote and social media data: The Olivia Wilde-directed Don’t Worry Darling doesn’t open until September 23, but on tracking, the film is off to a promising start, trending hot with 17- to 24-year-old women and also young guys. In sum, Harry Styles fans.
And as far as all those tabloid behind-the-scenes Don’t Worry Darling headlines about Wilde, Florence Pugh and Shia LaBeouf’s casting drama, as the old saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. All of that noise only creates intrigue around the property, and won’t have negative impact when it comes to the box office. How is that? Because moviegoers’ ticket-buying decisions are oblivious to Hollywood gossip. Audiences don’t make their decisions about a movie based on what they read on TMZ or Page Six.
Currently, the opening-weekend outlook for Don’t Worry Darling is in the high-teens millions, but there’s a tremendous potential for upside here on this multi-genre romance that also stars Chris Pine and Gemma Chan; it would not be shocking if the pic ascends to a $20 million-plus start, which would be a nice three-day total for what is a dry fall sans major tentpoles. Key for Warner Bros/New Line’s marketing is continuing to stoke Styles’ fervent fans toward the movie (and we’ve heard many are driving more than an hour to see early screenings of the hot romance title). Typically, young female moviegoers head to the cinema in groups and purchase their tickets day-of.
“We’re thrilled with this early tracking for Don’t Worry Darling and think it’s one of the must-see releases of the fall,” said Warner Bros Motion Picture Group co-chairs Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy. “Olivia is a truly visionary director who has delivered a completely original film filled with memorable performances from an incredible cast and a provocative story that will appeal to a wide variety of moveigoers. We can’t wait for audiences to see it.”
Social media analytics firm RelishMix reports, “Social channels for Don’t Worry Darling are strong with 507,000 fans already connected across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter on this stand-alone period piece which is impressive with weeks to go till opening on September 23. Materials have been lightly dropped with only two trailers so far as the needle moves on YouTube — and robust activity on the material that have been released. Styles is fully activated to his 62.6 million fans with re-posts intermixed with social images for his Love On Tour, while director-actor Olivia Wilde has connected to her 7.8M fans. Convo tone on Don’t Worry Darling tracks positive with emotional commitment from Styles’ super-fans from his musical tour, to see this film, as he hits the big screen again — on this title sprinkled with elements of real-life distractions, which for this project, is moving it up the scale.”
Warner Bros had a similar fall box office feat back in 2018 with another movie that had a big musical star in it, that being A Star Is Born with Lady Gaga. The studio delivered Gaga (and Bradley Cooper) fans to cinemas at 66% female during that pic’s opening weekend, seeing $42.9M and an ultimate $215.3M domestic cume.
Studios worried if older adults would come back to non-franchise tentpoles during the pandemic, and Warners Bros skirted those fears away by opening Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis to $31.2M back in June. It has since leg out $147.7M domestic, and is currently at $277.25M worldwide.
Despite all the chatter about Pugh being upset on set, we hear from those who’ve seen Don’t Worry Darling that the movie is truly a love letter to the actress’ range: She’s in every frame and exudes in a tale about a damsel who refuses to be in distress anymore. It sounds like this R-rated movie could be an ultimate double feature with the Little Women Oscar nominee’s 2019 genre pic Midsommar.
Styles is having a busy fall, not only showing up in Venice, but also Toronto where he has the love triangle gay romance drama My Policeman from Prime Video. All this while he’s working overtime at his concert residencies at Madison Square now and also Los Angeles’ Kia Forum which lasts 15 nights starting October 23.