Each week on Atom Insider, we break down the box office numbers for all of the biggest films opening in theaters. This week, Joker finally said “hasta la vista” to the top spot to make room for Terminator: Dark Fate, which had a far stronger performance overseas than stateside.

This Week’s Top Earner – ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’

Not every critic gave Dark Fate a thumbs up, but overall, reviews were mostly positive for the new film from Tim Miller, which Paramount released in early November despite this action flick feeling so much like a summer blockbuster. Regardless, Dark Fate pulled in $29 million domestically over the weekend, which is a slight uptick from the opening weekend for Terminator: Genisys (not adjusted for inflation). 

But let’s really crunch these numbers. Dark Fate had the second-lowest opening weekend of all six Terminator films (Rise of the Machines is still #1 in this regard with $44 million). This is despite Dark Fate having the widest release ever for one of these films (over 4,000 theaters) and years of inflation to beef up those numbers comparatively. Additionally, Terminator: Dark Fate has the second-largest production budget of these films ($185 million, reportedly).

All that said, Dark Fate might just experience its own salvation in the form of international box office numbers, including a release in China. Worldwide, it’s made over $123.6 million, and it will need far more than that to make up for its high budget and marketing costs, or else this franchise…*puts on sunglasses*…won’t be back.

Second Place  – ‘Joker’

Warner Bros is having a fantastic year at the box office when it comes to its DC Comics films. Aquaman became their highest-grossing film ever at the start of 2019, Shazam! was a surprise success and well-reviewed franchise starter, and now Joker is on its way to becoming their next billion-dollar movie and perhaps a contender at the Academy Awards.

Now in its fifth week, Joker isn’t just still in the Top 5 box office, it’s #2, which is seriously impressive staying power considering how many other wide releases have come and gone since early October. It made $13.5 million domestically this weekend (only a 27.7% drop) and now dances to the tune of $933.5 million worldwide. 

And Third  – ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’

The Disney live-action-sequel-to-the-remake is #3 for its Week 3, scoring another $12.1 million domestically after gaining 30 theaters and dropping 37.1% overall. Mistress of Evil has been switching spots with both Joker and Harriet depending on the day, but the film’s true benefactor has been the international market, which accounts for 78% of its worldwide box office of $383.2 million.

That’s still only about half of what Maleficent made in 2014, and with Frozen 2 just around the corner, Disney will have to refocus their efforts on that film’s box office success moving forward. Of course, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil still has at least two more weeks of relatively low competition in the family film space, save for The Addams Family.

Rounding Out The Rest Of The Box Office

Terminator: Dark Fate wasn’t the only new game in tinsel town. North America welcomed three other new wide releases to the Top 10, and the biggest success story here was Harriet (Focus Features), which grossed $12 million in over 2,000 theaters and landed at #4 on the charts. That’s great news for a biopic with a reported budget of only $17 million.

Motherless Brooklyn (Warner Bros) had a weaker showing by comparison, making just $3.5 million in over 1,300 theaters, landing at #9. And then there’s Arctic Dogs (Entertainment Studios), which hit over 2,800 theaters but landed at #10 with only $3.1 million domestically. With a reported budget of $50 million, that makes Arctic Dogs one of the biggest flops of the year, despite having one of the lowest budgets of the year for an animated film of this scope.

Both films made less than the other four releases on the Top 10, which all fell two spots to make way for Dark Fate and Harriet. That includes The Addams Family (United Artists), Zombieland: Double Tap (Sony), Countdown (STX), and Black and Blue (Sony).

And They’re Out

Four films entered. Four other films were crossed off. And each one performed worse than Parasite and Jojo Rabbit, which are still in limited release and nabbed the #11 and #12 spots respectively.

The Lighthouse (A24) fell five spots to #13, despite playing in twice as many theaters as Parasite and nearly four times as many theaters as Jojo Rabbit. The otherworldly black-and-white thriller from Robert Eggers has made almost $7 million domestically, well above its reported budget of about $4 million.

Gemini Man (Paramount) fell seven spots to #14, winding down its theatrical run after just a month at the box office. It’s still playing in over 1,800 theaters, but we’ll likely see that number plummet by next week. The film reportedly cost $138 million to make, and its worldwide total now stands at $161.9 million. Due to marketing costs and most of those numbers coming from international markets, it’s likely Gemini Man will lose money for the studio in the long run.

The Current War: Director’s Cut (101 Studios) fell six spots to #15, ending its brief dalliance on the Top 10 with $9.3 million worldwide against a reported budget of $30 million, making this one a sure flop. 

And Abominable (Universal) fell even farther despite its warm reception from critics: seven spots to #17, wrapping up its six-week run on the Top 10 chart. The DreamWorks Animation film has made $159.6 million worldwide, which is more than double its reported budget of $75 million.

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.

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