DC Films has another hit on its hands with “Joker,” proving that the first weekend box office win was no fluke: “Joker” is a bona fide hit already making history. Monday, which was a holiday for some, saw the film bring in another $8.4 million domestically pushing it past the $200 million mark. In 11 days, that is a domestic haul of $201.99 million. The studio gave it a very conservative weekend estimate of $40 million, but it blew past that with nearly $56 million.
“Joker” set a new record for the biggest second weekend for an October film in box office history, passing “Gravity” from 2013 which brought in $43.1. It broke the previous record set by “Venom” for Friday box office along with being a career-best opening for director Todd Phillips. His highest opening up to then was “The Hangover 2” with $85.9 million. It was also a career-high for Joaquin Phoenix whose highest opening up to then was $60.1 million with “Signs” in 2002.
This is the highest-grossing film for Warner Bros. in 2019 globally. Studio analysts were impressed with the only 13 percent Monday to Monday drop for “Joker”. We can assume that the film will hit the $600 million worldwide mark within the next 48 hours making it the eighth biggest R-rated grosser right behind “The Passion of the Christ” ($612 million), “Logan” ($619 million), “It” ($700 million), “Matrix Reloaded” ($742 million), “Deadpool” ($783 million), “Deadpool 2” ($785 million) along with China’s unrated “Wolf Warrior 2” ($854 million).
The R-rated comic book villain origin story had a phenomenal second weekend at the box office, topping the charts once more over newcomers such as the animated “The Addams Family” and the Will Smith action pic “Gemini Man.”
Warner Bros. said Sunday that “Joker” added $55.9 million from North American theaters this weekend, bringing its domestic total to $193.6 million.
“Not only did Joker over-perform in North America, but also internationally where the acclaim, buzz and controversy surrounding the film resonated strongly with moviegoers who put the film at the top of their cinematic priority list,” Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian noted. “Movies that become part of the general conversation due to their controversial nature are often those that transcend their status as a movie to become a cultural event and this is exactly what happened with Joker.”
Not only are the pure grosses impressive, but “Joker” also dropped only 42% from its record-breaking debut.
For comic book films, which are often front-loaded and regularly see second weekend falls that are over 50%, it’s a notably small dip. It’s also a slightly lower drop than “Wonder Woman” and “Black Panther” — both of which had higher initial openings and went on to have long lives in theaters.
“These are incredible numbers and really reflect how interested and excited people were,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore.
The film had a rollercoaster ride to release, with highs like winning the top prize at the Venice Film Festival, and lows when concerns about the film inciting violence made headlines and prompted increased security at many theaters across the country. But audiences have spoken with their dollars and “were not going to be deterred,” Dergarabedian said.
“It shows that content wins. A great movie will rise up above all the noise over whatever controversy or security concerns there were,” he added. “You’re totally left out of the water cooler conversation if you haven’t seen ‘Joker.’”
Internationally, “Joker” added $123.7 million from 79 markets, bringing its global total to $548.3 million after just 12 days in theaters.
“Joker’s” second weekend success played well alongside the counterprogramming of the kid-friendly “Addams Family,” which exceeded expectations and came in a strong second with $30.3 million.
DC Films upcoming film slate includes “Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) on February 7, 2020, “Wonder Woman 1984” on June 5, 2020, “The Batman” on June 25, 2021, “The Suicide Squad” on August 6, 2021 and the highly anticipated “Aquaman 2” on December 16, 2022.
United Artists Releasing distributed the film from MGM and BRON Creative that features the voices of Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron and Bette Midler. “The Addams Family” defied middling reviews (43% on Rotten Tomatoes) and benefited from a marketplace with relatively few family friendly options in theaters right now, aside from “Abominable” which is now in its third weekend.
The ambitious, star-driven “Gemini Man” was not so lucky. The visual effects-heavy Ang Lee film about an assassin on the run from a younger version of himself (both played by Smith using state of the art de-aging technology) opened in third place with only $20.5 million. Even Smith’s disastrous “After Earth” had a better debut ($27.5 million).
Reviews were overwhelmingly poor (it’s currently at 26% on Rotten Tomatoes) but “Gemini Man” also had the “Joker” factor to contend with, which may have contributed to the disappointing opening, according to Dergarabedian.
“Gemini Man” was not a cheap endeavor either. The film from Paramount and Skydance cost a reported $140 million to make after rebates and will have a difficult time breaking even.
Rounding out the top five were “Abominable,” with $6.2 million, and “Downton Abbey,” with $4.9 million.
In limited release, Bong Joon-Ho’s “Parasite” had an extraordinary weekend, earning $376,264 from only 3 locations. Its $125,421 per theater average is a record for 2019.
“It’s amazing how well (“Parasite”) did. It’s one of the biggest stories of the weekend,” Dergarabedian said. “That per theater average means that those movie theaters were full. The demand far outweighed the supply.”
Neon is distributing the class-conscious Korean thriller, which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year and is already a massive hit internationally, with over $70.9 million from South Korea alone. With near-unanimous rave reviews, “Parasite” is also expected to be an awards contender and will be expanding in North America in the coming weeks.
North American Box Office
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
- “Joker,” $55.9 million ($123.7 million international).
2. “The Addams Family,” $30.3 million.
3. “Gemini Man,” $20.5 million ($31.1 million international).
4. “Abominable,” $6.1 million ($15 million international).
5. “Downton Abbey,” $4.9 million ($4.1 million international).
6. “Hustlers,” $3.9 million ($3.9 million international).
7. “Judy,” $3.2 million ($1.6 million international).
8. “It: Chapter Two,” $3.1 million ($2.3 million international).
9. “Jexi,” $3.1 million.
10. “Ad Astra,” $1.9 million ($2.9 million international).
Worldwide Box Office
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to Comscore:
1. “Joker,” $123.7 million.
2. “The Captain,” $33.4 million.
3. “Gemini Man,” $31.1 million.
4. “My People, My Country,” $23 million.
5. “Abominable,” $15 million.
6. “The Climbers,” $11 million.
7. “Downton Abbey,” $4.1 million.
8. “Hustlers,” $3.9 million.
9. “The Most Ordinary Romance,” $3.7 million.
10. “The Angry Birds Movie 2,” $3 million.