Weekend Forecast: Will Maleficent: Mistress of Evil or Zombieland 2: Double Tap Dethrone Joker?

This weekend, two high profile sequels will make an effort to capitalize on what’s been a generally healthy autumn box office.

Although overall market returns are down (as expected) from last year’s record October period, Warner Bros.’ Joker is posting stellar holds and has already earned more than $200 million domestically in 11 days. The DC sensation is likely to hand off the top spot to Maleficent: Mistress of Evil this weekend, although that’s not as certain of an outcome as it was once considered to be.

Five years ago, Maleficent bowed to a strong $69.4 million weekend thanks to the powerhouse combination of Angelina Jolie, the Disney brand name, and the IP of one of the Mouse House’s most popular villains familiar to multiple generations of moviegoers. The pic earned $241.4 million stateside, meaning there’s a significant audience out there likely interested in this follow-up — largely thanks to the return of Jolie.

However, this year hasn’t been kind to family-driven sequels. Films like The LEGO Movie 2 and The Secret Life of Pets 2 experienced sharp drop-offs from their predecessors. Pre-release tracking trends suggest the Maleficent follow-up is likely in line for a similar fate, alongside comparisons to past live action sequels like The Huntsman: Winter’s War and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian — both of which shed over half their predecessors’ audience.

Of course, these comparisons are strictly for forecasting purposes and do not reflect the full profit view of each film.

Further softening domestic expectations for Mistress of Evil is the semi-breakout by The Addams Family last weekend, which may be poised to siphon away some of the family audience Disney typically attracts — particularly among young female audiences and mothers. The Maleficent sequel should still perform very strongly overseas, though, which puts less pressure on the North American performance.

The back end of this weekend’s double billing is Zombieland 2: Double Tap, arriving ten years after the sleeper hit original banked $75.6 million domestically off a $24.7 million first frame. The return of that film’s quarter of stars is a major — and arguably the biggest — selling point for this sequel.

Getting a two-week jump on Halloween with no other major “horror” releases on the docket is a smart play for Sony with Zombieland 2, meaning it doesn’t necessarily need to break hard out of the gate. Still, given the fan demand and cult classic status that’s developed over the past decade, this sequel is still likely to be front-loaded on some level. One notable advantage, however, is the open space for an adult-driven comedy, the last of which to make a dent was August’s Good Boys.

Despite the returning star power on display in Double Tap, the desire of all to return for what is essentially the sequel version of a passion project helped keep the production budget at a modest $42 million.

In the arsenal of both openers will be premium ticket pricing, with Mistress releasing in over 2,300 3D locations, 380 IMAX screens, 600 PLF screens, and 135 D-Box/4D locations. Double Tap, meanwhile, looks to be splitting many PLF screens with the Disney pic. That combo could put a dent in Addams‘ second weekend hold in terms of revenue, but the animated offering should still see longevity in terms of actual attendance.

In all, even with the pedigree of both new releases, only one will have a legitimate shot at dethroning Joker from the top spot this weekend — that being the Disney sequel. A significant under-performance from that title could make a Joker a dark horse candidate to repeat at #1 yet again, though, especially since Joker has already shed much of its IMAX/PLF footprint. It’ll face some competition from Double Tap‘s target adult audience this weekend, though.

Opening Weekend Ranges

  • Maleficent: Mistress of Evil ($36 – 46 million)
  • Zombieland 2: Double Tap ($24 – 29 million)

Top 10 v. Last Year

Boxoffice projects this weekend’s top ten films will decline 10 to 15 percent from the same weekend last year when Halloween (2018) debuted with a monster $76.2 million opening, driving a $156 million top ten market.

Film Distributor 3-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, October 20 % Change from Last Wknd
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Disney $40,000,000 $40,000,000 NEW
Joker Warner Bros. $32,000,000 $250,400,000 -43%
Zombieland 2: Double Tap Sony / Columbia $25,500,000 $25,500,000 NEW
The Addams Family (2019) United Artists Releasing $17,900,000 $59,100,000 -41%
Gemini Man Paramount $9,500,000 $37,400,000 -54%

Forecasts subject to change as location counts are finalized before Friday

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