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“Joker” Defies Negative Press to Smash October Records

It’s impossible to hide who took the crown of the weekend in the first showing for October 2019. DC and Warner Bros. dominated the box office with “Joker” despite controversy over its purported violence. The Golden Lion-winning production has become an Oscar favorite and came into the weekend as the sure-fire winner, but could it bring in numbers so big to change the record books? Well it’s not unheard of as last October we saw another film based on a comic book villain character, Marvel and Sony’s “Venom”, break records on its own in the same October weekend. So let’s see how well “Joker” fared and how the rest of the box office played out in the first Box Office Breakdown of October 2019.

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“Joker” not only defied the negative media attention around it, it destroyed records on its way to the box office crown earning a $93.5 million opening weekend, the largest domestic opening ever for the month of October. “Joker” tops “Venom’s” 2018 debut which itself broke the previous record just a year ago. The top three films in that category, which includes the 2018 “Halloween” sequel, were all released in the last two years. The debut also makes “Joker” the fourth-largest opening for an R-rated film behind the two “Deadpool” films and “It”. Eight of the top ten films on that list have been released in the last four or five years. “Joker” also broke the record for the widest opening ever in the month of October despite several theaters, including the site of the Aurora, Colorado shootings, refusing to show the film. Thursday night previews delivered an October record $13.3 million as well. Internationally “Joker” earned around $140.5 million giving it a $234 million global debut and marked Warner Bros. highest debut of the year in numerous countries. Personally, I found “Joker” to be a masterpiece and you can read my full opinion and review by clicking here.

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Unfortunately, the rest of the top ten was not near as exciting as the debut of “Joker”. Last week’s winner, “Abominable”, came in second with a $12 million three-day sophomore weekend. “Downton Abbey” held on for third with an $8 million weekend followed by “Hustlers” and “It: Chapter Two” to round out the top five. “Ad Astra” finished sixth followed by “Judy” which remained in seventh despite adding almost a thousand theaters. “Rambo: Last Blood” fell to eighth while the Indian action-thriller “War” debuted just inside the top ten at number nine after releasing in only 305 theaters. “Good Boys” rounded out the top ten. With “Joker” and “War” entering the top ten two previous multi-week number one films, the live action “The Lion King” and “Angel Has Fallen”, dropped to twelfth and thirteenth respectively.

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It should be interesting to see how “Joker” succeeds as a holdover especially considering the award season buzz it promises to maintain. It will have some good competition as three wide-release offerings will challenge for the top spot. Leading the way are Ang Lee’s new Will Smith-led action thriller “Gemini Man” and United Artists Releasing’s new animated take on “The Addams Family”. Lionsgate will also release a new comedy called “Jexi”. Can any of these films challenge “Joker’s” domination? Tune in next week, same Cinema time…Same Spotlight Channel…you know what I tried to make a Batman pun and it didn’t work. We’ll see what happens next week.

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