Hustlers rustled up a stellar $33.2 million-plus from 3,250 theaters at the U.S. box office, the best start ever for STXfilms and the best live-action opening of Jennifer Lopez‘s career, according to early returns.
The female-led ensemble pic came in a strong second behind New Line and Warner Bros.’ holdover It: Chapter Two, which earned $40.7 million in its sophomore outing for a domestic total of $153.8 million. Overseas, the horror pic earned another $47 million from 78 markets for a foreign tally of $169.5 and $323.3 million. Between the sequel and the first It, the franchise now boasts more than $1 billion in global ticket sales.
Hustlers — buoyed by a diverse audience — is based on real-life events chronicled in a 2015 New York magazine story and stars Constance Wu and Lopez as strippers that lead a band of dancers in a plot to drug and steal from their Wall Street clientele in Recession-era New York City.
Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Lizzo and Cardi B also star in the movie from writer-director Lorene Scafaria, which earned rave reviews out of its debut at the Toronto Film Festival. Hustlers cost a reported $20 million to make before marketing and is a much-needed win for STX (the indie studio’s previous biggest opening was Bad Moms with $23.8 million, not adjusted for inflation).
Females made up 67 percent of Hustlers‘ audience, while Caucasians represented 36 percent of ticket buyers, followed by African Americans (26 percent), Hispanics (27 percent) and Asians/Other (11 percent).
Also taking flight at the weekend box office was Warner’s The Goldfinch, which bombed after getting skewered by critics. The coming-of-age tale, ranking in No. 8, earned a measly $2.6 million weekend from 2,542 theaters — one of the worst starts of all time for a film launching in more than 2,500 locations. Among those who did show up, 61 percent of ticket buyers were female.
Filmmaker John Crowley’s adaptation of the sprawling, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Donna Tartt stars Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman and Sarah Paulson. The film — which made its world premiere at TIFF — tells the tale of a 13-year-old boy who survives a terrorist bombing at an art museum and whose inspiration becomes a painting he finds amid the destruction.
Outside of It: Chapter 2 and Annabelle Comes Home, Warners has had a tough time at the box office in recent months. In addition to The Goldfinch — which cost a reported $45 million to produce — other misses include Blinded by the Light and The Kitchen. Amazon Studios co-financed The Goldfinch in exchange for global SVOD rights.
In a surprise twist, The Goldfinch received a better CinemaScore than Hustlers (B versus B-). Conversely, Hustlers boasts an 87 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, compared to 24 percent for Goldfinch.
This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.