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Female-Driven Heist Flick “Ocean’s 8” Absconds With Box Office Crown

Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett lead all-star cast to $41.5 million debut.

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A heist movie about a band of female jewel thieves made off with $41.5 million and the box office crown this weekend.

But Warner Bros.’s Ocean’s 8 wasn’t just any movie — and the cast behind the franchise-best opening weekend wasn’t just any band of thieves. The first female-driven installment in the saga featured a star-heavy cast led by Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett and Rihanna, who are taking over for George Clooney, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt. Once again, there’s proof that women can indeed buy movie tickets in great numbers…for the right movie.

“So much has been made female-powered movies doing well at the box office and we still act like it’s a big surprise, but over the last few years we’ve already seen box office hits like The Hunger Games, Bridesmaids and Wonder Woman,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior box office analyst for ComScore, told RealClearLife.

The gender switch from Clooney & Co. to Bullock and crew didn’t seem to cause the mass outrage among a segment of male fandom that haunted the Ghostbusters reboot two years ago. That may be in part due to the older nature of the fandom: Not many childhoods were defined by Ocean’s Eleven or Ocean’s 11, the way they were by Star Wars or Ghostbusters, yielding fewer childish tantrums on social media.

Of course, timing is also everything: Though the film was in production long before the emergence of the #MeToo movement that has rocked the film industry, it arrives in theaters at a time where there’s an appetite for stories with strong female characters. Ocean’s 8 featured eight of them.

“The cast is like a greatest hits of some of the greatest actors working in film today,” says Dergarabedian. “If the original Rat-Pack Ocean’s 11 (1960) was The Avengers before The Avengers and the 2001 reboot followed up on that, Ocean’s 8 took it in a new direction.

“And it did so in an era where female empowerment has a particular resonance in movies right now,” he added. “The timing certainly didn’t hurt.”  

Finishing in a distant second was Disney’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, earning $15.15 million to bring its total North American gross to $176 million after 1 days, well below the expectations for a film in the biggest franchise in the universe.