Todd Phillips’ ‘Joker’ continues to outperform expectations and set records. Projections estimated that the film would make about $40 million in its sophomore weekend, but it actually brought in $55M, a new record high for a second weekend in October. This is after making $20-$30M more in its opening weekend than it was expected to, setting a new October opening record. Chalk up the success to the overall decent reviews and strong word-of-mouth. Worldwide, the Warner Brothers flick has made $543.9M, which is over halfway to a billion. It probably won’t reach that milestone, but it’s a massive hit regardless.
This is now the highest-grossing movie of Joaquin Phoenix and Robert DeNiro’s careers, topping ‘Gladiator’ and ‘Meet the Fockers’, respectively, and is Todd Phillips’ second-highest, falling just behind ‘The Hangover 2’ ($586.7M).
At #2, ‘The Addams Family’ opened to $30.3M, which is higher than the $24.2M the first live-action ‘Addams Family’ flick opened to in 1991, but of course, that was a long time ago, and back then, movies didn’t open the way they do today. (The first ‘Addams Family’ only opened in 2,411 theaters to start with.) But this is a solid opening that speaks to the enduring popularity of this “creepy,” “kooky,” “mysterious and ooky” family of ghouls, and their appeal to multiple generations. And of course, it’s October and in most of the country, it actually, finally feels like autumn, so people are in the mood for Halloween. The timing couldn’t be better!
Exiting audiences gave it a B+ CinemaScore, and 4 out of 5 stars via PostTrak. Reviews are not great, with a 44% on RottenTomatoes, but family movies can be critic-proof. Unfortunately, that works both ways. Case in point, Dreamwork’s ‘Abominable’ has a glowing 81% on RT, but it’s pretty much on its way out of theaters. But in this calm market, that movie is still in the Top Five, even though it’s down into the single-digit millions.
With ‘Joker’ standing firm at #1, and ‘The Addams Family’ opening at #2, that means that Ang Lee and Will Smith’s ‘Gemini Man’ flopped at #3, earning just $20.5M on a reported production budget of $138M. That was with ‘Gemini Man’ playing on almost all of the large format and 3D screens. Beyond Lee as the director and Smith as the star, in two roles, the big selling point of this movie was the cutting-edge special effects, but it was previously made public that no theaters in the U.S. were equipped with the technology to fully showcase them. On top of that audiences still haven’t warmed up to the super-high frames-per-second way of shooting. They find it unnerving. Beyond that, however, it just seems that folks didn’t see the appeal in this picture at all, much less at a premium price for an IMAX or 3D ticket.
Critics hate it, with its RT score at a dismal 26%. Audiences are more forgiving (as usual), giving it a B+ CinemaScore, and 3½ stars via PostTrak.
Normally a Will Smith action movie can count on the foreign box office to salvage it, but ‘Joker’ is dominating worldwide, so that’s hurting ‘Gemini Man’ everywhere.
‘Gemini Man’ was originally scheduled to open last weekend, but moved because of ‘Joker’. But it didn’t have much wiggle room, as ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ opens on the first weekend of November, and that would have also been direct competition. That sequel is expected to open in the $40M range.
- Joker (Warner Bros./Village Roadshow/Bron Films) – $55M
- The Addams Family (MGM/UAR) — $30.3M
- Gemini Man (Paramount/Skydance Media) — $20.5M
- Abominable (Dreamworks/Pearl/Universal) – $7M
- Downton Abbey (Focus Features) – $5M
Next weekend is a bit of a toss-up. Disney is unveiling ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’, which is eyed to be a splashy tentpole, but it’s possible that the studio waited too long after the first movie, as buzz has been muted.
It is opening against ‘Zombieland: Double Tap’ the sequel to the 2009 cult favorite. Sequels to movies that weren’t really that successful can be tricky (‘Blade Runner 2049’). But it’s possible that enough of a fanbase has built up in the ten years since the release of ‘Zombieland’ to make this a hit.
Also opening is the Taika Waititi comedy ‘Jojo Rabbit’, which may cut into ‘Zombieland: Double Tap’s audience. It’s opening much more modestly, but there could easily be some overlap in larger cities.
What do you plan on seeing next weekend?