This weekend at the box office, two cinematic antiheroes went head-to-head – but only one could prevail.
In the end, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil managed to top Joker with an estimated $36 million in its opening weekend, though the blockbuster DC Comics adaptation continued strong in the face of heightened competition that also included the Sony horror-comedy sequel Zombieland: Double Tap, which posted healthy numbers in its debut.
Launching in 3,790 locations, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil fell on the lower end of expectations for the weekend, becoming the latest family sequel to underperform this year after the likes of The LEGO Movie 2, The Secret Life of Pets 2 and The Angry Birds Movie 2, all of which debuted to less than half the opening take of their predecessors. Indeed, Mistress of Evil fell far short of the $69.4 million debut of the first Maleficent in May 2014, suggesting moviegoers couldn’t quite muster the same level of enthusiasm for the Angelina Jolie character in her second go-round.
Suffice it to say, Mistress of Evil faced some lingering competition from last weekend’s animated breakout The Addams Family while also suffering weaker reviews than its predecessor, which scored a 53% average on Rotten Tomatoes versus the sequel’s 41%. It bears mentioning that this is the lowest opening for a Disney live-action reimagining since another fairytale sequel, 2016’s Alice Through the Looking Glass, which debuted to just $26.8 million in May 2016 and finished its run with a weak $77 million in North America. Mistress of Evil even finished lower than this year’s box-office disappointment Dumbo, which grossed $45.9 million back in March and closed with $114.7 million domestically.
On the positive end of things, Mistress of Evil garnered an “A” Cinemascore – the same as the first film – and a 96% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes, suggesting potential to demonstrate reasonably strong legs in the weeks ahead. Also on the plus side, it doesn’t have much in the way of family-oriented competition over the next few weeks, which could provide it some much-needed runway. Jolie’s starpower and the strength of the Disney brand overseas will also help the film make up some ground internationally (more on that below).
In second place, Joker once again demonstrated good legs, bringing in an estimated $29.2 million in its third frame – a drop of 48% from last weekend. The Warner Bros. mega-hit now has $247.2 million in the bank, making it the 9th-highest grossing DC Comic adaptation of all time not adjusting for inflation, just ahead of Justice League ($229 million) and just behind 1989’s Batman ($251.1 million). The Joaquin Phoenix starrer held its own in the face of Sony’s Zombieland: Double Tap, the R-rated follow-up which targeted the same adult demo that’s been turning out so strongly for Joker over the last couple of weeks.
Speaking of which, Double Tap debuted in third place with an estimated $26.7 million from 3,468 locations, which is slightly above its predecessor’s $24.7 million debut in October 2009. The belated sequel benefitted greatly from the return of its core cast including Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson, as well as fond memories of the original and a dearth of adult comedies in the marketplace following the void left by Universal’s hit R-rated laugher Good Boys. It also satiates demand for horror (or at least horror-adjacent) fare as Halloween looms on the calendar.
Reviews for the follow-up were mixed-to-positive, suggesting Double Tap may not appeal as strongly beyond its core fanbase past opening weekend, which may have been front-loaded with fans of the original turning out in droves right out of the gate. Sony claims that the zombie comedy is the only sequel this year to open bigger than the original — though on closer scrutiny it appears they’re only talking about first sequels, as the likes of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: Far From Home and John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum would otherwise serve to dispute that characterization.
Enjoying a pretty good hold in its second weekend despite competition from Mistress of Evil for the family audience was United Artists’ The Addams Family, which brought in an estimated $16 million in fourth place (down 47% from its debut) for a total of $56.8 million after ten days of release. With two weeks still to go before Halloween, the animated title should continue to hold strong appeal for families through the end of the month.
Declining a hefty 58% in fifth place was Paramount’s Gemini Man, which brought in an estimated $8.5 million following its disappointing $20.5 million opening last weekend. The Will Smith sci-fi/actioner has just $36.5 million in the bank after ten days of release, putting it 21% behind the pace of Smith’s 2013 disappointment After Earth.
In sixth place, Universal’s Abominable brought in an estimated $3.5 million in its fourth weekend for a total of $53.9 million, while seventh went to Focus Features’ Downton Abbey, which grossed an estimated $3 million for a total of $88.6 million. Roadside Attractions’ Judy followed in eighth place with an estimated $2.055 million, bringing the total for the Judy Garland biopic to $19 million to date.
Rounding out the Top 10, STX’s Hustlers crossed the $100 million mark in its sixth weekend with an estimated $2.05 million (for a grand total of $101.8 million) in ninth place, while Warner Bros.’ It Chapter Two took in an estimated $1.5 million in tenth for a total of $209.6 million.
Falling just outside the Top 10 on just 33 screens was Neon’s Parasite, which brought in an estimated $1.24 million after adding 30 screens to its North American footprint this weekend — giving it a great $37K per-theater average. The total for the critically-lauded Bong Joon-ho thriller is now $1.82 million.
Fox Searchlight’s well-reviewed Jojo Rabbit opened strongly with an estimated $350K from five locations, giving the Taika Waititi-directed dark comedy a per-screen average of $70K. Look for it to expand wider next weekend.
Also making an impressive debut on eight screens was A24’s The Lighthouse, the second film from The Witch director Robert Eggers that finished with an estimated $419K, giving the acclaimed horror title a superb per-theater average of $52K. The film will expand to approximately 500 screens next weekend.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil scored the third-highest global opening of all time in October with an estimated $153 million, including a $117 million debut overseas. Overseas market debuts include $22.4 million in China (15% ahead of the first Maleficent), $10.7 million in Russia and $7.8 million in Mexico.
Joker brought in a supercharged $77.8 million overseas this weekend, bringing its international tally to $490.3 million and its global total to an incredible $737.5 million. Top market cumes to date include $49.9 million in the U.K., $36.4 million in Mexico, $32.9 million in Korea, $25.5 million in Brazil and $25.3 million in both Russia and Japan.
Gemini Man took in an estimated $33.4 million in 59 markets this weekend including $21 million in China (via Fosun Distributing), bringing its international total to $82.2 million and its global cume to $118.7 million.
Sunday’s Studio Weekend Estimates (Domestic)
FRI, OCT. 18 – SUN, OCT. 20
|1||Maleficent: Mistress of Evil||$36,000,000||—||3,790||—||$9,499||$36,000,000||1||Disney|
|3||Zombieland: Double Tap||$26,725,000||—||3,468||—||$7,706||$26,725,000||1||Sony Pictures|
|4||The Addams Family||$16,057,007||-47%||4,102||95||$3,914||$56,816,034||2||United Artists Releasing|
|5||Gemini Man||$8,500,000||-59%||3,642||0||$2,334||$36,516,543||2||Paramount Pictures|
|7||Downton Abbey||$3,080,000||-37%||2,258||-761||$1,364||$88,612,460||5||Focus Features|
|8||Judy||$2,055,975||-36%||1,418||-209||$1,450||$19,018,113||4||Roadside Attractions / LD Entertainment|
|10||It Chapter Two||$1,505,000||-52%||1,528||-775||$985||$209,659,518||7||Warner Bros|
|11||Jexi||$1,215,000||-61%||2,332||0||$521||$5,734,684||2||Lionsgate / CBS / Entertainment One|
|1||Ad Astra||$838,000||-55%||796||-882||$1,053||$48,702,771||5||20th Century Fox|
|2||Rambo: Last Blood||$560,000||-63%||930||-901||$602||$44,082,166||5||Lionsgate|
|3||The Lion King||$300,000||-56%||325||-1362||$923||$542,983,628||14||Walt Disney Pictures|
|4||The Peanut Butter Falcon||$225,950||-19%||248||-56||$911||$19,879,110||11||Roadside Attractions|
|5||Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark||$150,000||-39%||219||-127||$685||$68,152,304||11||CBS Films / Lionsgate|
|6||Good Boys||$106,000||-69%||190||-184||$558||$82,974,895||10||Universal Pictures|
|7||Toy Story 4||$97,000||-39%||145||-44||$669||$433,722,484||18||Disney|
|8||Dora and the Lost City of Gold||$92,000||-35%||147||-77||$626||$60,449,018||11||Paramount Pictures|
|9||Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw||$90,000||-52%||187||-114||$481||$173,693,635||12||Universal Pictures|
|10||Angel Has Fallen||$90,000||-38%||168||-120||$536||$68,878,413||9||Lionsgate|
|11||Lucy In The Sky||$58,000||-26%||231||33||$251||$272,095||3||Fox Searchlight|
|2||Pain and Glory||$463,532||71%||67||44||$6,918||$1,130,373||3||Sony Pictures Classics|
|4||Jojo Rabbit||$350,000||—||5||—||$70,000||$350,000||1||Fox Searchlight|
|5||Where’s My Roy Cohn?||$96,513||5%||66||9||$1,462||$493,746||5||Sony Pictures Classics|
|6||The Art of Racing in the Rain||$38,000||-14%||66||-23||$576||$26,385,699||11||20th Century Fox|
|8||Official Secrets||$27,336||-8%||34||-9||$804||$1,922,458||8||IFC Films|
|9||The Cave (2019)||$22,100||—||2||—||$11,050||$22,100||1||National Geographic Documentary Films|
|10||47 Meters Down: Uncaged||$20,000||-59%||51||-48||$392||$22,232,261||10||Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures|
|11||Immortal Hero||$18,845||—||12||—||$1,570||$18,845||1||Freestyle Releasing|
|12||Ready or Not||$17,000||-37%||39||-13||$436||$28,705,847||9||Fox Searchlight|
|13||First Love||$15,880||-49%||34||-6||$467||$195,543||4||Well Go USA Entertainment|
|14||Miles Davis: Birth of The Cool||$14,923||-29%||18||2||$829||$554,139||9||Abramorama|
|15||Greener Grass||$14,113||—||2||—||$7,057||$14,113||1||IFC Films / IFC Midnight|
|16||By the Grace of God||$8,188||—||2||—||$4,094||$8,188||1||Music Box Films|