A wide mixture of chills to select from this holiday frame.
This has been an October where expectations are tough to be met, and this weekend was more of the same. An expected hit for a major studio has not hit, and people are still trying to grasp the significance of a major hit title.
There are some horror titles offered up, as well as some new dramatic offerings for the holiday, but little in the form of event pictures. So the mixed bag delivered mixed results. A slate of new arrivals is seen but these are mostly smaller features with no chance of unsettling the top of the chart this week. So here is the holdover-intensive list for the Halloween weekend.
1. JOKER – $18.9 Million
Another strong performance as it drops only -35%. After a month in release it has yet to have a weekend where it fell over -50%. We discussed the making of the film this week on The Culture Shift podcast, where we discussed how Warner Brothers actually tried to dissuade director Todd Phillips from making this, as it was considering listening to the bickering from actor Jared Leto who played the character in “Suicide Squad”. Imagine the fortunes the studio had missed out on had they listened to an actor’s ego. This weekend’s result takes the film over the $275 million level, but bigger than that — it is now globally the most successful R-rated film of all time. Ryan Reynolds, star of the previous record holders, was congratulatory.
R-Rated box office congratulatory posts aren’t like the ones you’re used to… pic.twitter.com/OTy2BqIP4f
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) October 25, 2019
2. MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL – $18.53m
Less than $400,000 separated the top 22 titles, but this is the newer release, with the heft of Disney behind it and is based on a significantly successful property. This one is seriously underperforming for the House of Mouse. After two weekends it has yet to match the opening for the original, which basically doubled the returns by this same stage.
3. THE ADDAMS FAMILY – $11.7m
Not doing blockbuster numbers but this is managing to attract enough interest to its front door to be considered a qualified hit. The international figures are just slightly better so United Artists has to be happy with this gloomy animated comedy.
4. ZOMBIELAND 2: DOUBLE TAP – $11.6m
Coming off a respectable opening this is a bit of bad drop for week-2. This plunges -68% after a decent opening, a sign that word of mouth recommendations is not carrying things enough. As of now it is pacing in line with the original film, but is expected to start lagging in the next couple of weeks.
5. COUNTDOWN – $9.0m
The small studio STX makes a bid for some quick pocketing of profits with this low budget attempt at a Halloween cash-grab. A nurse downloads a phone app that predicts when you will die. She is told she has 3 days, and learns the accuracy of the app is unique. Made for less than $15 million this return was slightly better than expected and means there is a likelihood of profit, after all of the secondary and tertiary marketss (home video, cable rights, etc.)
6. BLACK AND BLUE – $8.32m
The highest debut of the week is this police procedural set in New Orleans surrounding corrupt cops on the street, from Sony/Screen Gems. Made relatively cheap and given scant promotion means there is a minimal risk for the production. There is enough audience support (80% favorability) that in the coming weeks it should leg out to enough to justify the budget.
7. GEMINI MAN – $3.9m
It has been a disappointment stateside (just over $40 million at this point) but the hoped-for foreign money has not arrived either. While a Chinese co-production the film has not landed the audience in that country, and other foreign markets are also a letdown. It is projected that the film could end up losing $75 million to be absorbed by the numerous studios involved.
8. THE LIGHTHOUSE – $3.08m
Expanding into over 550 screens this critically praised drama-horror offering is set in the 1880s with Willem DeFoe and Robert Pattison. Shot in black-and-white it chronicles the unraveling of two souls on a remote island off the coast of New England. Call it arthouse horror.
9. THE CURRENT WAR – $2.73m
This is a drama centered on the competition between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse to control the electrical grid for society. Originally it was orphaned in the collapse of The Weinstein Company. This was the last film that Harvey Weinstein was working on when his scandal erupted in 2017, and he attempted to rush it into theaters to salvage his name, hoping it would be an Oscar contender. Eventually it fell into the hands of an investment firm, but through some contractual wrangling, the rights fell back to the director. Newly formed 101 Studios is releasing, but with little promotion behind it.
10. DOWNTON ABBEY – $1.95m
It will be interesting to see if Focus Features works to keep this in release long enough to reach the $100 million plateau. It stands at just over $92 million at this stage.