September of 2019 has been surprisingly competitive, especially when compared to the underwhelming August month, and that trend didn’t end with “Downton Abbey’s” win last weekend. As a very busy October approaches including some of the biggest releases of the fall like “Joker”, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”, “Zombieland 2”, and “Gemini Man”, holdovers were seeking a big final weekend for September but they had to compete against several newcomers including the first animated feature of the fall, “Abominable”. How did the weekend shake out? Let’s find out in the final Box Office Breakdown of September 2019.
It’s been a good year for Universal as they once again topped the chart with the studio’s second release under their partnership with DreamWorks, “Abominable”. “Abominable” joins “Glass”, fellow DreamWorks release “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”, “Us”, “Good Boys”, “Hobbs & Shaw” as chart topping hits for the studio. Even last week’s winner “Downton Abbey”, which fell to second this weekend, was released through Universal-owned Focus Features. “Abominable” wrestled away the lead from “Downton” with a $20.85 million debut, below the $23 million Warner Bros. earned from a similar film “Smallfoot” released on the same weekend this time last year, but still within studio expectations. Interestingly enough “Abominable” is one of only THREE fully original films to top the box office in 2019, the other two being “Us” and “Good Boys”, and all three were released through Universal. It’s the seventh Universal film to top the charts in 2019 (eighth is you count “Downton Abbey”) which gives the studio the most number ones at the box office so far in 2019. “Abominable” earned respectable scores from both critics and audiences which should help it earn some carryover success and it will need it as it won’t be too long before a major animated competition, United Artist Releasing’s “The Addams Family”, starts to make an impact in a couple weeks. You can read my review of “Abominable” here.
Behind “Abominable” and “Downton Abbey” we see a slew of holdovers round out the top five. “Hustlers” actually JUMPED two spots after falling to fifth last week finishing in third this past weekend with an $11.4 million take. “It: Chapter Two” stayed steady where it ended last week in fourth and “Ad Astra” barely held on to a top five spot after debuting in the runner up position last week. “Rambo: Last Blood” fell to sixth and you have to go back to seventh for the other new entry in the top ten for the weekend. “Judy”, the biopic of the famous “Wizard of Oz” actress Judy Garland, entered the top ten with a $3 million weekend in only 461 theaters. The movie’s release spread is so low that it hasn’t even been shown in my area yet so sadly I didn’t get the chance to see it, but the potential Oscar-worthy performance of Renee Zellweger in the titular role has led many to flock to the theater to see the final result meaning it’s release should be expanded soon. Rounding out the top ten were “Good Boys”, Disney’s “Lion King” remake and “Angel Has Fallen” while “Hobbs & Shaw” and “Overcomer” fell out of the top ten.
This coming weekend’s winner is pretty much already set in stone. Warner Bros. will release one of the fall’s most anticipated films, “Joker”, an R-rated take on the famous Batman villain that has garnered both praise and controversy and won the Golden Lion at Venice earlier this year, the first comic book film to do so. The buzz surrounding the film’s violence has caused theaters to up their security with recollections of the Colorado Theater Shooting when “The Dark Knight Rises” debuted, but it doesn’t look like fear or warnings of violent content will keep people away from this flick as it is projected to have a massive opening weekend on route to a potential Oscar run. We’ll see just how good the film does this time next week.