Warner Brothers has a lot to smile about. I predicted weeks ago that Todd Phillips’ ‘Joker’ was going to over-index at the weekend box office and it very much did. Conservative estimates had it opening in the $60-$70 million range, but this is the most publicized movie to open in several weeks, and audiences were dying for an event film. This was it. ‘Joker’ wound up opening to $95M+ in the US and $235M worldwide. No, it didn’t quite cross the $100M mark domestically, but this is still a record October opening, besting ‘Venom’ which made $80M domestically and $207.4 globally on its first weekend last year. This also marks a record for Phillips and stars Joaquin Phoenix and Robert DeNiro, as the biggest opening weekend of their careers. It’s also the best IMAX October opening of all time.
‘Joker’ received massive acclaim when it screened at film festivals earlier, being showered with an eight-minute standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival, but now that the film has opened and been screened by critics far and wide, its once dazzling Rotten Tomatoes score has rapidly diminished, with it now sitting at 69%. That’s still “Certified Fresh,” but in school terms, it’s a D+, just barely enough to pass. There had been a lot of buzz that this could be an awards contender, but these negative reviews could have bulldozed those odds. But even in the negative reviews, Phoenix’s performance has been praised, so he may still earn a nomination for Best Actor, but if ‘Joker’ falls short in the other categories, his chances of winning are smaller.
Audiences like ‘Joker’, but aren’t raving about it, with a B+ CinemaScore, and 4 out of 5 PostTrak stars.
‘Joker’s production budget was between $60-$70M, and its advertising budget is reported $120M, so it’s already a success, and anything on top of this is pure profit.
- Joker (Warner Bros./Village Roadshow/Bron Films) – $95M+
- Abominable (Dreamworks/Pearl/Universal) – $12M
- Downton Abbey (Focus Features) – $8M
- Hustlers (STX Entertainment) – $6.3M
- It: Chapter Two (Warner Brothers/New Line) – $5.4M
Can two Will Smiths take down ‘Joker’? Paramount hopes so, as ‘Gemini Man’ opens next weekend. Though ‘Joker’ was the first event film to open in a few weeks, it’s not an action movie, and audiences may be in the mood for something with a faster pace.
MGM is also releasing ‘The Addams Family’, just in time for Halloween, and in a market that is light on family fare. Also opening is the Adam Devine comedy ‘Jexi’. There aren’t many comedies in play right now in theaters, so that may be appealing to those who want a laugh.
Check back to see how things go at next week’s weekend box office report.