Maleficent: Mistress of Evil narrowly beats Joker to claim weekend box office by earning $36mn

Walt Disney Company’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil claims first spot over Joker, which dominated the box office for over two weeks.

The Associated Press October 21, 2019 12:46:10 IST
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil narrowly beats Joker to claim weekend box office by earning $36mn

The Walt Disney Co.’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil knocked Joker out of the No. 1 spot at the box office, but just barely.

Studios on Sunday say the film starring Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning grossed an estimated 36 million dollars in North America and 117 million dollars internationally in its first weekend in theaters. The first film had a much stronger domestic showing, opening to nearly 70 million dollars domestically in 2014, and the sequel was expected to earn more stateside.

Maleficent Mistress of Evil narrowly beats Joker to claim weekend box office by earning 36mn

Image from Twitter

“It’s not as strong as we hoped domestically, but it’s a good start for October and we have a great window leading into Halloween,” said Cathleen Taff, Disney’s president of theatrical distribution. “Most encouraging is the fact that audiences seem to be responding very positively.”

The A CinemaScore — in contrast to the mixed critical reviews — suggests that the film could have a longer life at the box office.

Although it fell to second place after two weekends at the top, Warner Bros.’ Joker continues to hold strong at the box office. It added 29.2 million dollars in its third weekend in North America. The villain origin story has grossed over 247 million dollars domestically. Worldwide, it’s earned 737.5 million dollars, and has already surpassed the lifetime grosses of Justice League and Suicide Squad.

Now the big question is whether the R-rated film will make it to 1 billion dollars, but with a 55 million dollars production budget, it’s already a massive hit for the studio and will likely also become director Todd Phillips’ highest-grossing film too.

“It’s already in territory that nobody thought it would get to. It’s achieved a box office that is above the wildest expectations of the studio and analysts,” said Paul Dergarabedian, Comscore’s senior media analyst. “Even if the box office stopped right now it’s an absolute, unqualified success.”

Third place went to another new sequel, Columbia Pictures’ Zombieland: Double Tap with 26.7 million dollars. The R-rated comedy comes 10 years after the original, reuniting Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Woody Harrelson with director Ruben Fleischer.

“Three films earning over $25 million, that doesn’t happen very often,” Dergarabedian noted, although the weekend is down from last year when “Halloween” opened to over $76 million.

In notable landmarks, Hustlers crossed $100 million domestically this weekend. It’s the second STX film to do so this year after “The Upside.”

And buzzy, awards-friendly indies are continuing to thrive. Parasite, which opened last weekend, added $1.2 million. This weekend, Taika Waititi’s Nazi satire Jojo Rabbit opened in five theaters with a strong $350,000, the black and white Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe mindbender The Lighthouse earned $419,764 from eight theaters, and Jay & Silent Bob Reboot grossed $93,520 from one screen this weekend.

But the year is still down 5% from last year.

“It was a great weekend for sequels and great weekend for indie movies,” Dergarabedian said. “But we’re still struggling to get ahead of last year. We’re racing to the finish line here. We’ve only got 11 weekends left to go.”

 

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