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“Maleficent” and “Joker” Tangle for Top Spot (UPDATED)

For the first time I’ve had to update one of my Box Office Breakdown posts seeing as things have shaken up in the past 24-hours. With a relatively slow weekend the battle for the final box office crown of October 2019 came down to a pair of holdovers as “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” sought to win a second straight weekend and WB’s “Joker” looked to continue its dominance and score three out of four weekends in the month. Originally one of these films was crowned the weekend winner, but Monday’s reports of weekend actuals changes everything. The result was one of the lowest top ten grosses of the year but an epic showdown that serves as one of the closest box office battles of 2019. Let’s take a look at the final winners and losers in this week’s Box Office Breakdown.

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When I first posted this article it was “Joker” that had earned the top spot, but in a miraculous turn of events Monday actuals revealed it was, in fact, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” that took the crown earning a second weekend at the top and preventing “Joker” from becoming the first film since “A Quiet Place” to earn a return trip to number one. The Disney live-action sequel earned $19.3 million to top “Joker’s” $19.2 million, the difference being just over $100,000. These numbers were adjusted from the $18.9 million and $18.5 million reported for “Joker” and “Maleficent” respectively from Box Office Mojo. All things considered these two modern takes on popular villains are producing two very different stories. “Maleficent” has made almost 78% of its $294.8 million worldwide gross overseas while “Joker” is quickly becoming one of the most profitable films of the year with its estimated $850 million worldwide gross making it the highest grossing R-rated film of all time. Domestically it sits in seventh on the all-time list for R-rated movies and is now the fifth highest grossing DC comics adaptation in terms of global earnings. Behind the epic battle for the top spot in third was “The Addams Family” which actually moved up a spot from the previous weekend and continues to have impressive holdover potential followed by “Zombieland: Double Tap” in fourth.

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You have to drop down to fifth to catch the first newcomer of the weekend. STXFilms churned out a generic horror feature for the pre-Halloween weekend with the phone ap themed “Countdown” which took in around $9 million to secure a top five debut. The second brand new film in the top ten was “Black and Blue” from Screen Gems which received higher scores from both audiences and critics but failed to top “Countdown” earning a sixth-place spot with an $8.3 million weekend. I didn’t get to see either of these films over the weekend however as I prioritized a different offering, “The Lighthouse”. The Robert Eggers-led horror feature from A24 expanded to 586 theaters over the weekend and found its way into the top ten in eighth with a $3 million gross. If you’d like to read my review of this arthouse must-see you can do so here. “Gemini Man” took the seventh spot while another newcomer “The Current War: Director’s Cut” earned a top ten debut with a ninth-place finish and $2.7 million. Universals’ animated feature “Abominable” finished the top ten. In total the top ten films grossed a combined $89,886,989, the second lowest weekend gross of 2019. The only slower weekend was the first weekend of February which earned just under $70 million and saw the box office flop “Miss Bala” as the only new wide release at the time.

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We’re almost assured to have a new winner to kick off November as the first weekend of the second-to-last month of 2019 will bring some sci-fi sequel flair to the big screen with “Terminator: Dark Fate”, the latest in a line of sequels to classic franchises that retcon previous sequels (in this case serving as the “true sequel” to “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” and thus the third entry in the main franchise). Three other films will seek spots in the top ten with “Motherless Brooklyn”, the Harriet Tubman biopic “Harriet” and the animated “Arctic Dogs” all debuting. We’ll see where they all land this time next week.

Oh and Happy Halloween everyone!

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