‘Maleficent 2’ gets stale with just a $37m opening, while ‘Joker’ closes in on R-rated record

While it was a strong weekend for ‘Joker’ and ‘Zombieland 2: Double Tap’, earning a combined $56m, Disney’s ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’ got off to a shocker, crashing in way under our $50m forecast. Although its worldwide start of $154m softened the blow of its poor domestic landing, may this hint to Disney not being as infallible as once seemed?

How did the new releases get on?

Well, weren’t we optimistic with our $48m projection of ‘Maleficent 2’. The sequel brought in just $36.9m between Friday and Sunday from a $185m budget, the 3rd worst of the Disney live-action reimaginings openings (behind only ‘Pete’s Dragon’s $21.5m and ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’s $33.5m) thus far, and nearly half of ‘Maleficent’s $69.4m 5 years ago.

This isn’t the 1st time we’ve seen a movie sequel flop half a decade after its predecessor. This year alone, ‘Godzilla 2’ bombed with a $47.8m start (half of ‘Godzilla’s $93.2m from 2014). ‘The LEGO Movie 2’s $34.1m was a far cry from ‘LEGO Movie’s $69.1m – although this had more to do with the dilution of the brand in subsequent years. Even ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’ suffered 6 years on from ‘Alice in Wonderland’, as audiences had moved on from a film that potentially didn’t need a sequel.

They did seem to like it, however. The cinemagoers, made up of mainly women (56%) and 25+ year olds (54%), gave the film an A on Cinemascore, as well as a 96% audience score on the Tomatometer, and although the reception from critics was more damning at 40%, similar to the 1st’s 53%. Internationally, ‘Maleficent 2’ fared better, earning around $117m from all major countries, including $22m from Chia, and $4.3m from the U.K.

It’ll be more than enough to paper over the cracks that were realised by March’s ‘Dumbo’: Disney’s live-action remakes aren’t guaranteed successes. While ‘Maleficent 2’ and ‘Alice 2’ feel like unnecessary sequels, and ‘Dumbo’ was produced off of material almost 80 years old, ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Aladdin’ earned big off the back of some of the most popular Disney animations in history. The studio’s now on track for its biggest year ever both domestically and globally, meaning that although there’s still much to learn, the Disney powerhouse rolls on.

It was better news for ‘Zombieland 2’, although it earned $10m less than ‘Maleficent’ over the 3-day period. The film, which brought the old gang of Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, and Abigail Breslin back together, continued to roll back the years with its $26.8m opening – similar to the $25m earned by its predecessor a decade ago. It’s an opening that helps it become the 3rd biggest for a zombie flick, behind only ‘Hotel Transylvania’ and ‘World War Z’. Pointless trivia aside, it’s a strong opening from a $42m opening, and one that’ll likely push the film past the $100m global total, much like the 1st.

How did the others do?

Now in its 3rd weekend, ‘Joker’ continues to impress, earning $29.3m for a $247.3m running domestic total. Perhaps hit a little by ‘Zombieland 2’ this time around, the film’s quarter-of-a-billion-dollar haul is regardless the 9th biggest for any DC film ever made. More impressive is its gross worldwide: only 3 R-rated films have earned more than ‘Joker’s $737.5m (‘Matrix Reloaded’, ‘Deadpool’, and ‘Deadpool 2’), and by next Sunday, the number drops to 0. Next in its sights? The billion mark.

Other notables from the weekend

  • Maleficent 2’s $36.9m start marks the lowest of the Disney remakes to ever open to #1.
  • It also marks Disney’s lowest #1 opening since ‘Tomorrowland’s $33m back in May 2015.
  • The Addams Family’ became UAR’s biggest ever release, both domestically and globally, with $57.1m.
  • Only 3 films that aren’t classified as sequels, prequels, reboots, or remakes, have earned over $100m domestically this year: ‘Us’ ($175m), ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ ($139.8m), and now ‘Hustlers’ ($101.9m).
  • Downton Abbey’ is now the highest-grossing movie domestically from Focus Features, beating out ‘Brokeback Mountain’s $83m with $88.6m.
  • Limited releases ‘The Lighthouse’, ‘Jojo Rabbit’, and ‘Jay & Silent Bob Reboot’ opened to $427.8k, $349.6k, and $93.5k from 8, 5, and 1 cinema respectively this weekend. Their per-cinema averages of $53.5k, $69.9k, and $93.5k are the 8th, 5th, and 2nd biggest of the year for an opening.
  • For ‘Jay and Silent Bob’, this is also the 36th biggest opening PCA of all time.
Rank Last Week Rank Film STUDIO Total U.S. Gross Weekend Gross Weekend drop JUMPCUT’s prediction Week number
1 New! Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Disney $36.9m $36.9m $48.6m 1
2 1 Joker Warner Bros $247.3m $29.3m -47.6% $34.1m 3
3 New! Zombieland 2: Double Tap Sony $26.8m $26.8m $25m 1
4 2 The Addams Family UAR $57.1m $16.3m -46.1% $18.2m 2
5 3 Gemini Man Paramount $36.3m $8.3m -59.6% $9.3m 2
6 4 Abominable Universal $53.9m $3.5m -42.2% $3.1m 4
7 5 Downton Abbey Focus Features $88.6m $3.1m -36.4% $3m 5
8 7 Judy LD Entertainment $19m $2.1m -35.2% $2.1m 4
9 6 Hustlers STX Entertainment $101.9m $2m -47.9% $2.4m 6
10 8 It Chapter Two Warner Bros $209.6m $1.5m -53.6% $1.7m 7

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