It makes sense that on the week when people dress up for make believe, the movie that created one of the most popular characters of Halloween 2019 returned to No. 1 in its fourth weekend.
D.C. Comics’ “Joker” fell only 35 percent in its fourth weekend — and more impressively, it’s on a weekend that tends to see a fall in grosses. It also was helped by the weakness of three new wide releases.
Grosses are likely to stay close to the same period a year ago. That’s a positive shift, but the gap remains around $525 million with only a little more than two months to close it.
“Joker” would be doing well by any gauge; it’s especially true with a $65 million production cost, and updated worldwide figures surging to $850 billion. It looks like it could have as much as $100 million left in it, even without the China date that would have pushed it to $1 billion.
Apart from the anarchic spirit that might unsettle the Middle Kingdom’s censors, its R rating made it an unlike candidate to play. However, Warner Bros. touted that same drawback as the film passed “Deadpool” this week as the biggest worldwide gross among R-rated titles (although only at current dollar rates). “The Exorcist,” adjusted, made just below $1 billion domestica before adding substantial foreign revenues. “The Godfather” also was clearly bigger. That said, “Joker” is a huge success and major profit maker. And it is becoming so because of audience enthusiasm and word of mouth.
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Because of the calendar, top films were absent this weekend (next week has four, including “Terminator: Dark Fate,” which had a surprisingly weak foreign opening this weekend). That gave two low-budget entries a shot at attention, as well as a rescued Weinstein film that was once a hoped-for awards contender.
STX, which has thrived this year with two breakout hits (“The Upside,” also once Weinstein, and “Hustlers”) regularly provides lower-budget genre films. “Countdown,” with its death-predicting app making sense for Halloween, came in at around $9 million to beat Sony’s police thriller “Black and Blue” with a little over $8 million. The latter is from the studio’s Screen Gems unit, which has been a little quiet this year. Both films had lower marketing and production costs, so these modest returns ultimately could be enough for profit.
Further down the list, under $3 million, is “The Current War: Director’s Cut.” A historical drama about Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and Nicolas Tesla vying for control of usable electricity, it returned to its director’s control after a weak Toronto 2017 premiere. The number here isn’t great, although in its defense the film played only a little over 1,000 theaters. That it is playing at all is some victory.
Courtesy of Disney
For the second time this year, Disney stubbed its toe with a live-action animated adaptation. First was “Dumbo;” now this $185 million sequel to the successful “Sleeping Beauty” offshoot dropped 50 percent. That’s surprising since family-oriented Disney films often hold well and there was little competition this weekend.
It is doing better foreign, as did the original, but could struggle to reach $100 million domestic. At just under $300 million worldwide, this has a long way to reach profit.
“Zombieland: Double Tap” fell more at 57 percent, even with the benefit of Halloween audiences. This sequel should top out under $65 million. Foreign will need to soar ahead of the original for this mid-budget film to find a profit.
The impressive hold on the list is “The Addams Family,” down only 28 percent, rising a position to No. 3, and seeming to get the biggest Halloween boost. This now looks like a $100 million domestic total, a real surprise and another sleeper outside of the anticipated hits for the month.
A24’s “The Lighthouse” with Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe reached No. 8 with over $3 million in 586 theaters. Pattinson’s fan base likely boosted it above its art-house audience appeal, but whatever it took to promote it, A24 found it.
The Top Ten
1. Joker (Warner Bros.) Week 4; Last weekend #2
$18,900,000 (-35%) in 3,936 theaters (-154); PTA (per theater average): $4,802; Cumulative: $277,583,000
2. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (Disney) Week 2; Last weekend #1
$18,537,000 (-50%) in 3,790 theaters (no change); PTA: $4,891; Cumulative: $65,412,000
3. The Addams Family (United Artists) Week 3; Last weekend #4
$11,705,000 (-28%) in 4,207 theaters (+105); PTA: $2,782; Cumulative: $72,801,000
4. Zombieland: Double Tap (Sony) Week 2; Last weekend #3
$11,600,000 (-57%) in 3,468 theaters (no change); PTA: $3,345; Cumulative: $47,000,000
5. Countdown (STX) NEW – Cinemascore: C+; Metacritic: 30; Est. budget: $6 million
$9,010,000 in 2,675 theaters; PTA: $3,368; Cumulative: $9,010,000
6. Black and Blue (Sony) NEW – Cinemascore: XXX; Metacritic: 53; Est. budget: $12 million
$8,325,000 in 2,062 theaters; PTA: $4,037; Cumulative: $8,325,000
7. Gemini Man (Paramount) Week 3; Last weekend #4
$4,000,000 (-52%) in 3,008 theaters (-634); PTA: $1,330; Cumulative: $43,342,000
8. The Lighthouse (A24) Week 2; Last weekend #15
$3,082,000 (+621%) in 586 theaters (+578); PTA: $5,261; Cumulative: $3,663,000
9. The Current War: Director’s Cut (101) NEW – Cinemascore: XXX; Metacritic: 49; Est. budget: $30 million
$2,730,000 in 1,022 theaters; PTA: $2,671; Cumulative: $2,730,000
10. Abominable (Universal) Week 5; Last weekend #6
$2,000,000 (-43%) in 1,658 theaters (-600); PTA: $911; Cumulative: $56,819,000