Box Office: Joker laughs all the way to the bank

    Author Tom Linay

The Weekend Round-up

  • Joker is already the most talked about movie of the year and that talk translated into box office in a big way this weekend as it opened with a huge £12.6m. That’s the fifth highest opening weekend of the year, just behind Captain Marvel’s £12.8m. That film finished on £39.5m, so Joker will be hoping to get close to that. In terms of 15-cert comic book films, Deadpool opened with £13.7m, which included £3.8m from previews, while Logan opened with £9.4m, including £2.5m from previews, so Joker compares favourably with both of them.
  • Joaquin Phoenix may well be next year’s Oscar Best Actor winner but the Best Actress prize could go to a performance in a film out the same weekend as Joker. Renee Zellweger is nothing short of sensational in Judy and it opened this weekend with £2.1m, which includes £536k from previews. Earlier this year, a biopic about a couple of popular 20th century performers, Stan And Ollie, opened with £2.6m (including £162k from previews) and finished on £10.6m, so Judy will be hoping for a total not far short of that. It may get a timely boost next year when the Oscar and BAFTA winners are announced too.
  • After three weekends in the top spot, Downton Abbey fell to third. The grey-pound blockbuster added £1.5m, which takes its total to £23.1m. It has now overtaken Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood and Hobbs & Shaw to be the ninth biggest film of 2019 to date. It will overtake Rocketman, currently eighth in the list, this week. 
  • Hustlers had another solid weekend, falling 42% to £591k. That takes its total to £6.2m and it is now distributor STX’s biggest ever hit in the UK, overtaking I Feel Pretty which finished on £5.5m.
  • Ad Astra completed the top five, adding £468k, and it is now over the £5m mark. The thoughtful Brad Pitt sci-fi is now up to £5.5m.
  • Outside of the top five, the summer’s big family films are still proving a draw as The Lion King has now crossed the £75m mark. 

Overall the box office is up 11% from last weekend and down 20% from the same weekend last year when the top films were VenomJohnny English Strikes Again, A Star Is Born and The House With A Clock In Its Walls.

Next Weekend

  • Gemini Man is an action thriller from Ang Lee (Life Of Pi, Brokeback Mountain) starring Will Smith as an over-the-hill hitman faces off against a younger clone of himself. It’s in cinemas on Thursday. 
  • Abominable is an animation about a magical Yeti who gets lost in the big city and must return to his family.
  • The Day Shall Come is the latest button-pushing comedy from Chris Morris (Brass Eye, Four Lions). An impoverished preacher who brings hope to the Miami projects is offered cash to save his family from eviction. He has no idea his sponsor works for the FBI who plan to turn him into a criminal by fuelling his madcap revolutionary dreams.

The Buzz

Military Wives is a comedy drama starring Kristen Scott Thomas and Sharon Horgan, and directed by Peter Cattaneo (The Full Monty). With their partners away serving in Afghanistan, a group of women on the home front form a choir and quickly find themselves at the center of a media sensation and global movement. Screen International said ‘it tugs at the heartstrings with such determination and sincerity that there may not be a dry eye in the cinema. The Hollywood Reporter were also charmed, saying ‘it's hard not to warm to a film that features an a cappella version of Yazoo's ‘Only You’, a near-derelict car that may or may not be called Shite Rider and Kristin Scott Thomas having a verbal catfight in a parking lot.’ It’s in cinemas on 6 March 2020.

Across The Pond

Joker broke the record for biggest October opening in the US, kicking off its run with $96m. That’s also the fourth largest opening ever for an R-rated film. Last week’s top film, Abominable came in second, falling 42% to $12m, which takes its total to $37.8m. Downton Abbey fell 44% in its third week, adding $8m for a new total of $73.6m. Hustlers added $6.3m for an impressive new total of $91.3m. It: Chapter Two completed the top five, adding $5.4m for a new total of $202.3m.