Knives Out: Rian Johnson’s Murder Mystery Scores ta the Box-Office

Propelled by favorable critical response and audience love, Lionsgate’s Knives Out, a murder mystery directed by Rian Johnson, launched ahead of expectations, securing second place with $27 million over the weekend from 3,391 theaters and $41.7 million between Wednesday and Sunday.

The whodunit starring Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis and Chris Evans was projected to earn $20 million to $25 million in its first five days of release.

The movie cost $40 million and looks to be a triumph for original, mid-budget content at multiplexes.

“Rian Johnson created a fresh and original crowd-pleasing film with ‘Knives Out’ and we are thrilled to see it connecting with audiences,” said Brye Adler and Jonathan Golfman, presidents of MRC Films, co-producers on the movie. “It was an incredible collaboration between MRC, T-Street, and Lionsgate, who did a phenomenal job marketing and distributing the film.”

Knives Out is also resonating with international moviegoers. The film debuted overseas with $28.3 million, boosting its global total to $70 million.

Universal and Makeready’s Queen and Slim, an original fare, also exceeded expectations.

The romantic drama starring Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith opened at No. 5, collecting $11.7 million over the weekend from 1,690 venues and $15.8 million over the five-day holiday period.

Directed by Melina Matsoukas and written by Lena Waithe, Queen and Slim carries a $20 million price tag.

Over 50% of opening weekend crowds were African American, while 24% were Caucasian, 15% were Hispanic and 3% were Asian.

More than 60% of ticket buyers were over the age of 25.

“At the heart of ‘Queen and Slim’ is a moving love story that is timely and groundbreaking,” said Jim Orr, Universal’s president of domestic distribution. “We’re really pleased with how ‘Queen and Slim’ opened and that audiences are responding.”