The last weekend of October goes out with a bit of a whimper, as it's two new releases that will quickly be forgotten, which is probably a good thing as things are about to get very crowded at multiplexes over the next few weekends.
By Tim Briody
October 27, 2019
In a bit of a surprise, Joker returns to the top spot in a close race, with $18.9 million weekend. It's got $277.5 million in four weekends, and the considerable legs (or at least what passes for legs in modern day box office) were not something many people saw coming because it just doesn't happen in the comic book genre. Even if it's more of a psychological character study than an action movie. Joker has willed itself into Best Picture discussion by virtue of its box office and release date, and we'll see if it holds up as more contenders are released over the next two months. It's also flirting with a billion worldwide, as it's at $849 million and counting, and it's just become the biggest R-rated movie worldwide (though the R-rating only really means anything in the United States, for the nitpickers).
After taking a big slice from the opening weekend of the original, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil takes another hit, sliding 50% to $18.5 million in its second weekend, giving it $65.4 million to date. The Angelina Jolie film that nobody was really clamoring for is going to be a miss for Disney, but they can sweep this one under the rug without much of a problem.
The Addams Family holds pretty well, boosted by the pre-Halloween weekend, adding $11.7 million (down just 28%) and giving it $72.8 million in three weekends. Costing just $40 million to make, it's hardly a surprise they've greenlit a sequel for two years' time. It's headed to $90 million total, which is just fine.
Zombieland: Double Tap falls apart in its second weekend with $11.6 million (down 57%) and $47 million to date. The lesson here is don't wait 10 years between sequels. The first one dropped 40% in its second weekend, and helped get the film to $75.5 million. The two films are basically even right now, but the original will start pulling ahead over the next couple weekends, causing Double Tap to fall a bit short of matching that total.
In fifth place, Countdown earns $9 million. A throwaway horror film is always a good idea a week before Halloween, and this one's about a smartphone app that tells you when you're going to die with remarkable accuracy. While the idea is like five years too late, everything's good here as it starred essentially nobody and only cost $6.5 million to make.
Sixth goes to the other wide release as Black and Blue takes in $8.3 million. A police thriller starring Naomie Harris and Tyrese Gibson, Black and Blue was shrugged at by critics (46% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes) and mostly ignored by audiences as well, but it only cost $12 million to make so while it will quickly be forgotten, this an okay opening, as it will at least match that back in theaters.
The flop of the fall, Will Smith and Ang Lee's Gemini Man adds $4 million in its third weekend, giving it just $43.3 million to date.
The Lighthouse expands from eight theaters last weekend to 586 this weekend and takes eighth place with $3 million. A black and white psychological horror film starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse has received rave reviews (92% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes) and the performance of both Pattinson and Dafoe. The Lighthouse is from writer/director Robert Eggers, whose last film, 2016's The Witch also received strong reviews and earned $25 million on a $5 million budget.
Opening in 1,022 theaters and earning $2.7 million, The Current War also crashes the top ten this weekend. Officially The Current War: Director's Cut, this is yet another film that got wrapped up in the mess that was The Weinstein Company's collapse. Originally premiering at festivals in 2017, it was set for a theatrical release that year, but then Harvey Weinstein ruined things for everyone. Initial reaction to the film was actually not great, so as the film bounced around distribution houses, director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (Me & Earl & the Dying Girl) managed to reshoot some scenes and rework the film slightly, thus a Director's Cut.
Anyway, the film itself is about Thomas Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch) and George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) and the fight between the alternating current and direct current ways of supplying electricity. The film also stars Nicholas Hoult, Katherine Waterston and Tom Holland.
Despite all this, the film still wasn't well reviewed, earning a 58% Fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes. The Current War benefited from a weak lower portion of the box office, and from the names in the cast to post this opening, but it'll be a quick trip to the streaming sites from here.
Abominable finishes things up for us this week with $2 million and $56.8 million in five weekends, more or less having had the steam taken out of it thanks to The Addams Family.
The top 12 films this weekend earned $93.6 million, just ahead of last year's $91.4 million when the topical Halloween was on top for a second weekend with $31.4 million.
November brings many more interesting box office weekends ahead, starting with Terminator: Dark Fate, which reunites Arnold Schwarzenegger with Linda Hamilton, the animated Arctic Dogs, and a probable Best Picture nomination that we won't get to talk about here, but it'll be on Netflix before you know it, in The Irishman.