This weekend saw Joker laughing away maniacally at the top of the charts while serious new contenders fell by the wayside. Gemini Man, from Paramount, took the biggest hit among these with its $20.5 million launch in third place. Golden Globe winner Ang Lee directs this movie about a cloned assassin trying to kill his older self, with five-time Golden Globe nominee Will Smith and a digitally enhanced 25-year-old Will Smith playing the lead characters. Globe winner Clive Owen, Benedict Wong, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead also star. All of this talent on hand wasn’t enough to save Gemini Man. Only two other big-budget movies have managed to open this poorly in 2019: Dark Phoenix, which started at $32.8 million against a $200 million budget, and Alita: Battle Angel, which managed to turn its $170 million budget into a $28.5 million debut. Both of these were Fox properties.
Unlike several other star vehicles that faltered domestically in the modern era of international market preeminence, like 2017’s The Mummy or The Tourist in 2010, Gemini Man hasn’t caught a break abroad. Two weeks in 53 markets have only brought in $39 million so far. Top markets include France at $5.1 million, Mexico and Russia, both at $2.7 million and Indonesia at $1.3 million. It will go to China on October 18, so there’s still some hope for Paramount that they’ll be able to turn this one around.
Next among the Joker’s victims, with less horrific results this time, we have a mid-budget CGI The Addams Family from Universal and United Artists. It opened in second place in the US with $30.2 million. Globe winners Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, and Bette Midler, as well as Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Kroll, and Snoop Dogg are highlights of the voice cast in this umpteenth filmed interpretation of the classic 1930s comic strip. Nitrogen Studios, who produced the film along with MGM, managed to keep the budget relatively low for an animated feature at $40 million. It opens in the UK, Germany, Brazil, and Mexico on October 25, and will continue to roll out internationally until December 6.
Both of these films had perfectly good excuses for faltering. While Joker surpassed expectations in its release last frame, the holdover numbers are even more impressive. This weekend’s first-place take was $178.7 million dollars, enough to bring it to $543 million worldwide. In doing so it passed Warner’s other 2019 rated-R winner, It Chapter Two, which now sits at $445.6 million near the end of its run. So far Joker is at a fitting lucky number 13 on the all-time worldwide chart for 18+ films. The Passion of the Christ’s $622 million fifth placemark is within sight, while fourth-place It ($700 million) and third-place The Matrix Reloaded ($738 million,) aren’t entirely unrealistic. Then again, if Joker’s fan fervor keeps up and repeat viewings a-la-Marvel kick in, Deadpool 2’s all-time R-record of $785 million could potentially be broken.
Finally, on the specialty side, we have Korean slasher-thriller master Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite. This film, about a dirt-poor family who creeps their way into the center of a leading industrialist’s home and life, had the year’s best per-theater average opening of $123k from three LA and New York screens. Parasite won the Palme D’or at Cannes this year and has been nearly universally praised by critics. It moves into a wider release in the US next week.
The biggest films opening this coming Friday are Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Zombieland: Double Tap, The Lighthouse, and Jojo Rabbit.