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411 Box Office Report: Joker Holds on Strong For Second Week at #1

October 13, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Joker Joaquin Phoenix

There was no stopping the Joker from claiming his second week atop the box office this weekend, and with a fantastic hold to boot. Tod Phillips’ Joker beat down the newcomers to bring in $55 million in its second weekend, down just 43% from last weekend’s take. That’s the best second-weekend hold for a comic book adaptation since Aquaman’s 23% drop in December of last year, though that film also had the benefit of having a second weekend in the notoriously repeat business-friendly weekend after Christmas. You have to go all the way back to June 2017’s Wonder Woman to find the last film with a hold that strong during a non-holiday weekend.

Obviously, this is huge news for the film, which was already well on its way to success. The critic reviews have been okay, but it’s the attendee word of mouth that is making this one soar. This also provides evidence that the first weekend wasn’t boosted as hard as some suspected by the controversy, as that kind of business doesn’t repeat. Joker is now up to $192.8 million domestically and $543.9 million worldwide, all against a mere $55 million budget. DC and Warner Bros.’ big gamble to venture boldly outside their established comics continuity has worked in spades, with an end gross of $300 million domestically within each.

Joker’s success means the biggest opening of the weekend had to settle for second place, and that was The Addams Family. The animated family-friendly take on the Charles Addams creations opened well nonetheless with $30.3 million, surpassing the $25 million start most expected. It’s a very nice opening for the film, well above recent animated starts like Abominable ($20.6 million) and The Angry Birds Movie 2 ($10.4 million). It’s also higher than family-oriented Halloween openers like Goosebumps ($23.6 million).

Addams Family was walking a little bit of a tightrope here. One one hand, the Addamses have always been a less scary, more all-ages take on creepy entertainment. On the other hand, people rightly venerate the 1991 film starring the late Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston as well as its sequel, which ratcheted up the darkness just enough that it was subversive without being entirely inappropriate. The animated film didn’t strike critics quite right; it sits at a 44% consensus on Rotten Tomatoes. But audiences dug it as the B+ CinemaScore shows, and that led to strong results across the weekend.

Of course, now we wonder where it will go from here. Animated films tend to have longer shelf lives, but the seasonal aspect of this one will cut that slightly. The best comparison is probably Goosebumps, which managed a 3.39 multiple. A 3.2 seems a little more likely here considering stronger competition to come, which would put the film around $95 million domestically. On a $40 million budget (but an expensive marketing campaign), this will likely be a hit especially once overseas money starts to come in.

Meanwhile, Gemini Man proved that financially at least, two Will Smiths is not better than one. The Ang Lee-directed sci-fi actioner opened to just $20.5 million, below the high $20 million range expectations. It marks the lowest opening for one of Smith’s action films since 1998’s Enemy of the State, and only barely beat that film’s $20 million. It’s also a worse opening than Lee’s Life of Pi, which managed a $22.5 million start in 2012.

If you’re looking for good news around Gemini Man, don’t strain yourself; there isn’t any. This was a deeply expensive film that leaned hard on its de-aging technology and 120 fps IMAX presentation, neither of which were things audiences seemed too interested in. It didn’t help that critics panned this at a 28% consensus on RT, but that was just icing on a cake of indifference. Those who saw the film did generally like it, with a B+ CinemaScore, but positive word of mouth is not going to save this film that was only able to add $39 million overseas for a $59.5 million worldwide start. With a $150 million budget plus a lot of marketing, this one is going to be a big money loser for Paramount. Domestically it probably won’t top $75 million.

Abominable was down to #4 in its third week with $6.2 million. The film felt the bite of The Addams Family, down 48% from last weekend. The movie now has $48 million domestically and $108.1 million worldwide, getting a little closer to a possible breakeven against its $75 million budget. The domestic final should end up at around $65 million.

Downton Abbey remains in stellar shape, down just 39% in its fourth weekend with $4.9 million. The Focus Features film now has $82.7 million domestically and $152.7 million worldwide, making it a huge hit against its $20 million budget. Domestically it is looking likely to cross the $95 million mark, with $100 million unlikely but not impossible.

Hustlers is also holding on great, off 40% in its fifth weekend to $3.9 million. The stripper drama now has $98 million domestically and $121.6 million worldwide against a $20 million budget. It’s still looking like it will top $110 million domestically by the end of its run.

Judy added 169 more theaters and continued to hold on, down a good 29% to $3.3 million. The Judy Garland biopic is proving to have legs, with $15 million thus far against an as-yet-unknown budget. Roadside Attractions is looking to keep momentum holding for the film until awards season starts to pick up, and it could happen. It will easily top $20 million and could go much higher depending on how remaining weeks shake out.

It Chapter Two was down 39% in its sixth weekend with $3.2 million. The franchise capper now has $207.1 million domestically and $445.6 million worldwide against a $79 million budget, as it starts to slow down. It should end its US run at around $215 million, which New Line will be very happy with.

Opening with a thud at #9 was Jexi. The Adam DeVine-starring comedy about a man who runs afoul of his phone AI’s clingy nature brought in just $3.1 million, making it dead on arrival. This isn’t a shock, as Lionsgate knew what it had and didn’t do anything to promote the film — especially considering it came from Lionsgate’s CBS Films, which has folded. And there was no positive buzz to help out; critics hated it (14% on RT) and audiences didn’t like it either with a B-. This one is going to fade out quickly, and probably won’t top $10 million. No word on its budget, but this is probably a money loser

Brad Pitt’s Ad Astra closed out the top 10 with $1.9 million, down 54%. The space adventure has quickly raced its way off the charts, and has totalled $47 million in the US. But overseas, it’s — well, performing like a Brad Pitt film typically does, and has $120.3 million worldwide. That’s not enough to make back the $100 million budget by a long shot though, and domestically it’s going to end at around $50 million.

Next weekend will easily Joker make way for another villain in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, which is targeting a $45 million to $50 million start (and tons of overseas money). Also opening is Zombieland: Double Tap which should it in the $25 million to $30 million range.

BOX OFFICE TOP TEN (Three-Day Domestic Numbers)
1. Joker – $55 million ($192.7 million total)
2. The Addams Family – $30.3 million ($30.3 million total)
3. Gemini Man – $20.5 million ($20.5 million total)
4. Abominable – $6.2 million ($48 million total)
5. Downton Abbey – $4.9 million ($82.7 million total)
6. Hustlers – $3.9 million ($98 million total)
7. Judy – $3.3 million ($15 million total)
8. It: Chapter 2 – $3.2 million ($207.1 million total)
9. Jexi – $3.1 million ($3.1 million total)
10. Ad Astra – $1.9 million ($47 million total)