Don’t Worry Darling shows all publicity is good publicity at the box office

Olivia Wilde’s suburban thriller has opened strongly despite reports of backstage wrangles and being panned by critics

Don’t Worry Darling, Olivia Wilde’s much-anticipated suburban thriller starring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles, has opened strongly in the UK despite – or perhaps thanks to – the considerable iffy publicity surrounding the film.

Wilde’s film became the UK and Ireland’s widest-ever opener by a female director, debuting in 694 locations on its first weekend of release. It will shortly expand to 783 screens.

It was narrowly beaten to the No 1 spot in the weekend charts by romcom Ticket to Paradise, whose release was pushed back a week because of the Queen’s funeral. The Julia Roberts and George Clooney film made £2.8m, while Wilde’s movie managed £2.77m.

Wilde’s first film as director, Booksmart, was a sleeper success in the UK, but still only managed £1.5m total in its 2019 run.

In July, Olivia Newman’s Where the Crawdads Sing opened in 691 UK and Ireland locations. Other major movies from female directors – such as Chloé Zhao’s Eternals – had their exhibition ambitions curtailed by Covid.

Cate Shortland’s Black Widow, meanwhile, was exclusively released on streaming platform Disney+.

Don’t Worry Darling has attracted mixed reviews for its blend of satire, sci-fi and feminist critique, while publicity has focused on reported backstage wrangles between some of the cast and director.

The reissued Avatar made third place in the UK box office chart this weekend, while the Top 5 was rounded out by murder mystery See How They Run and Bowie documentary Moonage Daydream.


Catherine Shoard

The GuardianTramp

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