Box Office: JOKER back at #1, setting a global R-rated record in a weak sauce October closer

Welcome to the Beat’s Weekend Box Office Recap!

The last weekend of October 2019 won’t be one for the record books, unless you happen to be Todd Phillips‘ Joker, which became the highest-grossing R-rated movie globally before the weekend, as it returned to #1 after losing that spot to Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil last weekend.

Joker made an estimated $18.9 million this weekend, down 35% from last weekend, as it eked out a close race for the top of the box office over Maleficent. It has grossed $277.6 million in North America since opening in early October. That puts it in seventh place for the year among the year’s other biggest hits, as well as making it Warner Bros.’ highest-grossing movie of the year over last month’s It: Chapter Two. There’s a good chance Joker will end up making $300 million or more domestically , especially if it starts getting award nominations for star Joaquin Phoenix or other aspects of the controversial but generally well-received film.

Joker grossed another $47.8 million overseas this weekend to bring its international total to $571.5 million overseas and $849.1 million worldwide. That’s well ahead of the previous global R-rated record for a film, previously held by last year’s Deadpool 2 with $785 million. One thing that hasn’t been mentioned along with that record is that most other countries overseas don’t use the same MPAA rating as North America, so neither of those movies actually received R-ratings outside the U.S. and Canada. But hey, a record is a record.

Angelina Jolie‘s return for the sequel Maleficent: Mistress of Evil just hasn’t been doing as well for Disney as hoped, as after its disappointing opening last weekend, it dropped 50% to second place with $18.5 million. So far, it has only grossed $65.4 million in its first ten days, which is less than the opening of its 2014 predecessor. Disney hasn’t made much of an effort overseas with this one yet, it only having made $28 million so far in about 30% of the overseas territories.

Although it was touch and go since Thursday, STXfilms’ high concept horror film Countdown successfully besteed Screen Gems’ police thriller Black and Blue to take fifth place with $9 million in 2,674 theaters or $3,364 per theater. The movie was given a “C+” CinemaScore from audiences, which isn’t good for the movie having much long-term after Halloween on Thursday. Reviews weren’t much better.

Directed by Deon Taylor (The Intruder) and starring Naomie HarrisTyrese Gibson, Mike Colter (Luke Cage) and Frank Grillo (Avengers: Endgame), Black and Blue came into the weekend with midling reviews. Screen Gems gave it a moderate release into 2,062 theaters, and though it made $675,000 in Thursday previews (more than Countdown‘s $515,000), it fell slightly behind on Friday with $3 million. It ended up taking sixth place for the weekend with an estimated $8.3 million or $4,040, which is less than The Intruder made in early May. Reviews were slightly better than those for Countdown, but no audience rating was provided by CinemaScore.

Will Smith and Ang Lee‘s Gemini Man took another smaller plunge to seventh place with $4 million (-52%) with a three-week gross of $43.3 million, which isn’t great for either of them or for Paramount Pictures, who will be relying heavily on next week’s Terminator: Dark Fate to save its year.

In advance of its North American release on Friday, Paramount’s Terminator: Dark Fate made $12.8 million in 10 territories overseas including the UK, France and Germany, but that isn’t particularly promising that it will do better overseas than domestically as with Terminator: Genisys.

Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse, starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, made a strong play into the top 10 to take eighth place with $3 million after A24 expanded it into 586 theaters on Friday. Its $5,119 per-theater-average is actually the best in the top 10 for the weekend. You can read what The Beat Entertainment Editor Kyle Pinion thought of Eggers’ latest film in his review.

Opening in ninth place, 101 Studios’ release of the two-year-old The Current War: The Director’s Cut, starring Benedict CumberbatchMichael ShannonTom Holland and Nicholas Hoult, made $2.7 million in 1,022 theaters this weekend or $2,671 per theater. Not good. The historic drama about the race between Thomas Edison (Cumberbatch) and George Westinghouse (Shannon) to provide electrical power to the United States in the late 19th Century premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2017 with plans for a November release by the Weinstein Co. but got shelved indefinitely due to the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, while the movie was reworked by director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl).

Certainly, my predictions for the weekend weren’t my best showing as I didn’t have the right order for the top 4, and I thought two of the new movies would do better than they actually did.

Bong Joon-Ho‘s comedic thriller Parasite was expanded into 129 theaters by NEON where it grossed another $1.8 million, which will not be enough to get it into the top 10. It has grossed $4.1 million so far, which is nearly as much as his 2014 action film Snowpiercer made domestically. It’s hard to tell how much further NEON will be able to expand the movie nationwide, but we’ll have to wait and see how the studio goes from here.

The Bruce Springsteen doc Western Stars also opened in 537 theaters after a couple Fathom Events nights that earned just under $500,000. This weekend, the movie added another $560 million to bring its total to a cool million.

Kanye West‘s own musical doc Jesus is King was released into 372 IMAX theaters on Friday to coincide with the release of his new album of the same name. It grossed an estimated $830,000 over the weekend.

This Week’s Top 10: 

Rank Last Week Rank Movie Studio Weekend Gross % Change Total Gross
1 2 Joker Warner Bros. $18.9 million -35% $277.6 million
2 1 Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Disney $18.5 million -50% $65.4 million
3 4 The Addams Family U.A. Releasing $11.7 million -28% $72.8 million
4 3 Zombieland: Double Tap Sony $11.6 million -57% $47 million
5 New Countdown STXfilms $9 million N/A $9 million
6 New Black and Blue Screen Gems $8.3 million N/A $8.3 million
7 5 Gemini Man Paramount $4 million -52% $43.3 million
8 13 The Lighthouse A24 $3.1 million +620% $3.7 million
9 New The Current War 101 Studios $2.7 million N/A $2.7 million
10 6 Abominable DreamWorks (Uni) $2 million  -52% $56.8 million

Last year, things weren’t really that much better than this weekend, as the only new movie was Gerard Butler‘s Hunter Killer, which opened in fifth place with $6.6 million. Halloween remained #1 with $31.4 million, followed by A Star is Born and Venom, and the top 10 only made slightly more than this weekend.

Check back on Wednesday for my weekly Box Office Preview as the Terminator is back in Terminator: Dark Fate, Edward Norton‘s passion project Motherless Brooklyn finally sees the light of day, Cynthia Erivo stars in Harriet (as in Tubman), and Arctic Dogs.


  1. Joker’s international box office is nothing short of astonishing. It’s a freakin’ character study with fewer explosions than you see in the average toothpaste commercial, yet foreign audiences are gobbling it up like they can’t get enough.


  2. But it does depict America as a scary, psychotic madhouse, where even Wall Street yuppies beat up people on subways, which foreigners love to see.

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