Along with Knives Out ($27 million Fri-Sun/$41 million Wed-Sun), the only other wide release newbie this holiday was Makeready’s Queen and Slim. The (correctly) acclaimed drama, about a young black couple (Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith) who end up on the run after a first date ends with a fatal altercation with a police officer, ended the long holiday with a robust $11.7 million Fri-Sun and $15.8 million Wed-Sun debut. That would be quite fine for the Universal release, as A) it’s entirely on brand for their “small movies with big impacts that serve underrepresented demographics” sub-genre, and B) it’s quite good so I’m hoping it’ll leg out.

The $17 million Melina Matsoukas-directed and Lena Waithe penned flick is not exactly escapism. However, if Thelma and Louise can become a generational classic, then I’m hopeful for Queen and Slim. Needless to say, it’s unlike anything else in the marketplace right now, offering a “western” for our times that is both upfront about the horrors of the day and just lyrical enough to qualify as a genuinely “fun” character drama. Legs are an open question, although something between Creed II ($116 million from a $56 million debut in 2018) and Four Christmases ($120 million/$46 million in 2008) would get Queen and Slim between $33 million and $42 million domestic.

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