‘Joker’ Tops Friday Box Office And Passes $400 Million Worldwide


Joker will have likely a smaller second weekend drop than even Wonder Woman and Black Panther.

Riddle me this, Batman… When is a 57% Friday-to-Friday drop considered a bloody triumph? When its Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker and that drop is a better hold than the second-Friday falls for Venom, Logan and Deadpool 2. That drop is better than Deadpool (-65%), Logan (-68%) and Venom (-69%). The $60 million R-rated Warner Bros. release is indeed this season’s current floor wax and its dessert topping. It is, with a $17 million second-Friday gross and current $154.729 million eight-day total, lording over the competition. We’re probably looking at a $60.3 million second-weekend gross, the second-biggest non-opening ever for an R-rated movie, which would be a drop of just 37% for a ten-day total of $198 million domestic.

Worldwide is a projected guestimate, but if it has maintained the 38.7% domestic/61.3% overseas split from Sunday, if not better due to opening in France, Germany and Israel over the last few days, it has around $400 million worldwide either by this morning or by the end of this sentence. It could end Sunday night over $500 million worldwide. That’ll push it past the current running cume of It Chapter Two (which will probably wrap up with $460 million on a $70 million budget) to become Warner Bros.’ biggest grosser of the year. Whatever ups (Shazam!) and downs (Godzilla: King of the Monsters) the Dream Factory has had this year; they have done very well with R-rated scary dramas featuring killer clowns.

Joker is scoring huge from being both the dessert topping and the floor wax of the moment. It is both the big franchise/comic book flick of the moment and the babysitter-worthy adult-skewing event of the month. It’s like A Star Is Born and Venom all rolled into one mid-budget drama. Lord help anything aimed at adults over the next few weeks. The next two biggies, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil on October 18 and Terminator: Dark Fate on November 1, are currently tracking to earn maybe a little bit more ($45-$55 million, depending on the odds) on their debut Fri-Sun frames than what Joker will likely earn in weekend two. Joker may continue to be relatively wild until Frozen II on November 22.

If that seems overly optimistic, we’re dealing with a $60 million flick that will have over/under $510 million worldwide by tomorrow night. It could drop dead on Monday morning and it would still be a huge win. As is, the projected 37% drop will be much better than the 55-57% second-weekend drops of Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Justice League and (from a much smaller opening) Shazam!. It’s even smaller than the over/under 43% drops of Wonder Woman and Black Panther. It’s got Maleficent 2 and Zombieland: Double Tap next weekend and then a last-weekend-of-October slate of pure small-scale studio programmers. It won’t be until November when the R-rated Terminator sequel provides hard competition.

Strong reviews, solid word-of-mouth, relentless media coverage and the sheer strength of the brand and the character have created a genuine blockbuster from what otherwise would be a patently uncommercial film. It’s a conventional Warner Bros. franchise play and one of their patented “event movie for adults” breakouts like American Sniper and Magic Mike. It’s also, ironically, every bit as bleak, grim, violent and kid-unfriendly as (relatively speaking) Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was back in the day. The Clown Prince of Crime would find this all bitterly amusing. Is it too late for Warner Bros. to argue that Motherless Brooklyn is about The Riddler (in his reformed detective/consultant phase) and that Doctor Sleep is about the secret origins of the Scarecrow?

In other holdover news, Abominable earned another $1.69 million (-39%) on Friday for a $7 million (-41%) third weekend and $49.5 million 17-day cume.  The legs are solid, but the numbers still aren’t very big for this ($75 million) DreamWorks toon. At this juncture, will be lucky to pass $70 million domestic. Downton Abbey earned $1.46 million (-39%) on Friday for a likely $5 million (-37%) fourth weekend and an $83 million 24-day domestic cume. It’ll pass the unadjusted $83.9 million cume of X-Files: Fight the Future sometime next week. Hustlers will earn around $3.92 million (-39%) in weekend five for a $98 million cume as it crawls past the $100 million domestic milestone. It has already been announced for DVD/Blu/etc. in December, so the end is near for this leggy hit.

It Chapter Two will earn around $3.3 million (-38%) this weekend for a new $207.22 million domestic cume. It’s still the year’s biggest non-Disney/Marvel grosser in North America, if only for a few more days. Renee Zellweger’s Judy will earn $3.48 million (-24%) in 1,627 theaters. The Roadside Attractions/LD Entertainment Judy Garland biopic has become an under-the-radar sleeper hit and the first Oscar contender (aside from Joker) to really break out this season. The film should have around $15.2 million by the end of the weekend. To be fair, the season hasn’t really started, outside of platform releases. Ad Astra will earn only $2 million for Fox/Disney, giving the Brad Pitt sci-fi original a disappointing $47 million 24-day total.


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