Hustlers rolled in the Benjamins this weekend, collecting US$33.2 million (S$45.6 million) when it debuted in 3,250 North American theatres.
Boosted by rave reviews and stellar word of mouth, Hustlers, which had a production budget of US$20 million (S$27.5 million), beat expectations and now ranks as the best start for an STX film, along with the biggest live-action opening weekend for stars Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu.
Directed by Lorene Scafaria, Hustlers is based on Jessica Pressler's 2015 New York magazine article about a group of strippers who turn the tables on their wealthy Wall Street clientele after the 2008 recession hits.
Not all newcomers were as fortunate. Warner Bros' The Goldfinch, adapted from Donna Tartt's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, misfired with a disastrous US$2.6 million from 2,542 locations.
Those ticket sales are well behind projections that estimated an opening weekend near US$12 million. The mystery drama, which cost US$40 million to produce, stars Ansel Elgort stars as Theo, a young man who turns to art forgery after losing his mother in a freak tragedy. The Goldfinch was skewered by critics after it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival.
Despite a sour start for The Goldfinch, Warner Bros still dominated box office charts. For the second weekend in a row, It: Chapter Two was the No 1 movie in North America. The scary sequel pocketed another US$40 million this weekend, boosting its domestic tally to US$153 million. Between It: Chapter Two and its predecessor, the franchised based on Stephen King's horror novel has generated over US$1 billion worldwide.
Lionsgate's Angel Has Fallen slid to third place, adding US$4.4 million in its fourth weekend of release. At No 4, Universal's comedy Good Boys picked up US$4.2 million, taking its bounty to a solid US$73 million in North America. Rounding out the top five is Disney's The Lion King with US$3.5 million. After nine weeks in theatres, the remake has amassed a mighty US$534 million at the US box office.