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Don't Worry Darling has a decent opening weekend after drama-filled rollout

Nick Kroll, Florence Pugh, Chris Pine, Olivia Wilde, Sydney Chandler, Harry Styles and Gemma Chan
Nick Kroll, Florence Pugh, Chris Pine, Olivia Wilde, Sydney Chandler, Harry Styles and Gemma Chan Alessandra Benedetti - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Maybe Warner Bros. didn't have to be quite so worried.

Olivia Wilde's Don't Worry Darling topped the weekend box office with a $19.2 million debut after being embroiled in tabloid drama leading up to its release.

It was considered a decent, though not spectacular, opening for an original thriller, which reportedly had a budget of $35 million. For comparison, Jordan Peele's Get Out opened with $33 million in 2017.

This was despite — or, perhaps, because of — the fact that Don't Worry Darling endured one of the messiest rollouts of any film in recent memory. For months, rumors circulated of a feud between Wilde and star Florence Pugh, allegedly connected to Wilde's relationship with Pugh's co-star, Harry Styles. Pugh did virtually no promotion for the film, fueling the speculation.

There was also a public dispute between Wilde and Shia LaBeouf over whether she fired him from the movie. The film's Venice Film Festival premiere then made headlines for all the wrong reasons after Pugh skipped a press conference, and there were even claims that Styles spit on co-star Chris Pine, which the actors denied. As this off-camera drama largely overshadowed the movie itself, questions persisted over whether this would cause Don't Worry Darling to crash and burn at the box office or if, conversely, it could help make the film a huge hit.

Ultimately, the outcome was somewhere in the middle, but the drama at least didn't cause Don't Worry Darling to totally crater. At the same time, audiences gave Don't Worry Darling a somewhat weak B- CinemaScore, and the film made less on Saturday than expected. Both point to mixed word-of-mouth, so if the studio hopes the film can continue drawing audiences beyond opening weekend, the worrying isn't over just yet.

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