Each week on Atom Insider, we break down the box office numbers for all of the biggest films opening in theaters. Last month, Warner Bros. released an R-rated event movie centered around a murderous clown haunting the victims of an 80s-aesthetic setting. This month, Joker came out in theaters.
This Week’s Top Earner – ‘Joker’
We knew Joker would have a massive opening weekend thanks to pre-sale estimates and a record-breaking Thursday preview night, but even I’m a bit blown away by these numbers. Joker brought in $93.5 million domestically in its first weekend, shattering the record for the highest-grossing film ever to debut in October, which was previously held by last year’s Venom ($80 million).
The Warner Bros. film is also getting the last laugh overseas. It made $234 million against an estimated budget of $50 to $70 million. These numbers make Joker the fourth-biggest opening ever for an R-rated film behind the first It. And domestically, it’s just a few hundred thousand dollars short of outgrossing the box office opening of Justice League from 2017.
How will Joker do moving forward? Hard to say, but the film certainly has a strong runway thanks to a lack of comic book movie competition. Just last winter, Aquaman opened to $67.8 million, but it went on to become the highest-grossing DC Comics film of all time. Joker isn’t the same sort of family crowd-pleasing movie to be sure, but it has a similar opportunity to stand out from the pack as we dance through awards season.
Second Place – ‘Abominable’
DreamWorks Animation saw a much-needed win this weekend with Abominable, which only dropped 41.8% after gaining a few theaters in its second weekend. Being the only animated movie in first-run theaters at the moment certainly has its perks. The film earned $12 million domestically, pushing its worldwide total to $76.3 million, officially surpassing its reported budget of $75 million.
These numbers don’t make Abominable a surefire profit. It’ll need to maintain some of this momentum to make back its assumed marketing costs, plus it has Maleficent 2 to contend with later this month. But for now, this family film has positive reviews and word of mouth to sneak in some heartwarming returns for DreamWorks and Universal.
And Third – ‘Downton Abbey’
Come what may, the foundation of this adapted British TV series is pretty strong. Downton Abbey fell just one spot to #3 in its third weekend with $8 million domestically. The fan favorite film has grossed $135.4 million worldwide, blowing way past its estimated budget of up to $20 million. Looks like we’ll all be invited to royal sequel sometime soon.
Rounding Out The Rest Of The Box Office
The rest of the Top 10 this week is a mix of predictable and wait, that really happened? First, the predictable: Hustlers (STX), It Chapter Two (Warner Bros), and Ad Astra (Fox) all dropped just one spot to make way for Joker. Each film saw a percentage drop somewhere in the 40s, except for Ad Astra, which is fading surprisingly fast with a 54% drop in its third weekend. We’ll probably see this one plummet through the Top 10 atmosphere in the next couple of weeks.
Judy (Roadside Attractions) expanded its limited release by nearly 1,000 theaters, but this only kept the film firmly in place at #7. This was enough, however, to keep the Judy Garland biopic floating over Rambo: Last Blood (Lionsgate), which actually dropped two spots to #8 with just $3.5 million in its third week, resulting in a sharp 58.7% drop.
The big surprise, however, was War, a new foreign action thriller from Yash Raj films (In fairness, Alisha guessed it would be big and included it in our monthly foreign movie releases column). Despite only playing in 305 theaters domestically, War brought in an impressive $1.5 million, giving it the second-highest per-theater average of the Top 10 and landing it at #9.
Finally, we have Good Boys (Universal) at #10, which has impressively held on for eight weeks now. The raunchy August preteen comedy is now down to just 1,000 theaters or so nationwide, and it made just under $1 million this past weekend. We’ll likely see these boys graduate by next week.
And They’re Out
Speaking of long box office runs, The Lion King (Disney) roared its last hakuna matata and fell to #12 after a coincidental 12 weeks at the box office. Despite still playing in over 1,000 theaters, the highest-grossing animated film of all time at $1.64 billion made just $693,000 this past weekend.
Last we have Angel Has Fallen (Lionsgate), which had a surprise run as the #1 film for a couple weeks in a row before slipping down the charts this past month. Worldwide, the third film in the “Has Fallen” franchise is winding down at about $127.1 million overall, making it a slightly stronger performer than the sequel, but still falling short of the first movie from 2013.
That’s it for this weekend. Check back with Atom Insider next week as we recap all the newest releases vying for the top of the box office.