The RedState Box Office Report - Laughing at the Competition

Theatrical poster, courtesy Warner Brothers Pictures

Juaquin Phoenix and Todd Phillips make a joke of the competition.

For months there has been outrage leveled towards the new version of the presentation of the character of The Joker, compared to the less new version seen in “Suicide Squad”, and that seen in “The Dark Knight”. For some reason a character prone to violence and murder was not considered an offensive threat previously, but NOW…!

Despite all of the outrage, or because of it, the film was a smash and set some new records. Long expected to be a hit things became more impressive as the weekend went along. There was a spillover benefit for the holdovers as well, as the rest of the top-5 titles had drops of less than -50%. The crowds seem motivated to hit the theaters if there is something approximating quality offered on screen.

1. JOKER – $93.5 Million
A very impressive opener that may climb even higher once the actuals are reported on Monday afternoon. The original projections were something of a moving target, looking anywhere between $50-70 million for the weekend. Reasons for the inexactitude was how much the controversy may have tamped interest, whether reports about people walking out in anger were accurate (they were not), and there were reported security concerns at theaters. All of that proved to be overblown. Records fell as this effort topped previous October records set by “Venom”, including biggest debut, biggest global opening ($234 million – $207 million) and largest Thursday preview total – $13.3 million. This delivered as well the biggest openings for all concerned, including topping director Todd Phillips’ “Hangover 2” opening of $85.9 million. Though there are a number of new arrivals next weekend none appear to be in direct competition, so the drop off should be minimized.

2. ABOMINABLE – $12.0m
Last week’s top film did not drop too deeply, with a decent hold of -42%. The Universal/Dreamworks animated venture is doing respectable business if not impressive, and so far the global returns have been matching those of North America. Overall there should be a profit realized once the complete run is finished.

3. DOWNTON ABBEY – $8.0m
The conversion of the famed British TV drama to the big screen is continuing to draw a passionate audience. It has taken in almost $75 million after three weekends.

4. HUSTLERS – $6.3m
Another crime-centric film that curiously has not generated any of the concern over inspiring copycat crimes, and it too has been popular. It is a surprise that this one is approaching the $100 million plateau.

5. IT: CHAPTER TWO – $5.35m
Still a top-5 film after 5 weeks it has crossed over the $200 million mark with this return.

6. AD ASTRA – $4.55m
Just as “Abominable” echoes another animated snowman film “Smallfoot” from last year, so too does this space opera mimic last fall’s “First Man”, both in its astral content and in it coming in with an underperformance with little attraction from the awards season crowd.

7. JUDY – $4.45m
The Judy Garland biopic added 1,000 screens as it is attempting to platform its release and create some awards buzz, particularly for Renee Zellweger.

8. RAMBO LAST BLOOD – $3.55m
Taking a steeper -59% drop here in week-3 as it sheds over 700 screens.While it is still pacing slightly better than the last “Rambo film that was 11 years ago, and this one opened on almost 1,000 more screens.

9. WAR – $1.58m
A Bollywood action piece that climbs into the top ten in a top-heavy list where a number of older holdovers had large drops of theaters allowing for it to creep up.

10. GOOD BOYS – $800,000
A sign of how large the business was at the top of this weekend, this title takes the last spot with under one million earned.