October 5, 2019



Everything has broken right for JOKER (BRON/Village Roadshow/DC/Warners).  Its combination of gold-standard IP with a gritty, violent, R-rated aesthetic has been largely accepted critically and earned it film festival kudos, and it’s had the benefit of controversy about its potential to stir up real-life trouble without (so far) any actual incidents that could drive patrons away.  All of this is paying off at the box office, where it’s parlayed an October-record $13.3M Thursday (starting at 4PM) into what early numbers at Deadline say will be a $39.8M Thursday/Friday combination.  That’s another October record, as well as one of the highest opening days for an R-rated production, behind Deadpool and its sequel, the first It and The Matrix Reloaded.  It’s unclear how word of mouth will impact such a polarizing film over the course of the weekend, so $100M is in play, but the more likely result woul be in the mid-$90Ms.  Warners kept costs relatively low on Joker, probably $175M or less even with worldwide marketing, so when international revenues are tallied this weekend, the film should be well on its way to profitability, with only scattered competition until Terminator: Dark Fate arrives next month.

It was a long way down to ABOMINABLE (Pearl/DreamWorks/Universal), which dropped 50% from last Friday’s opening to $2.8M, for a likely $12M weekend.  A $60M US total would leave Abominable‘s fate in the hands of its China opening this week.

DOWNTON ABBEY (Focus/Universal) continued to hold well, down 43% to $2.5M on its 3rd Friday, for a weekend that should hit $8.5M on its way to an eye-popping $90M in the US.

HUSTLERS (STX) also stayed strong, down 45% to $2M on its 4th Friday.  Its weekend should top $6M as it heads to $100M+ in the US.

IT CHAPTER TWO (New Line/Warners) lost 50% to $1.4M on its 5th Friday, on its way to a $5M weekend and $210M in the US, down about 35% from the first It.

AD ASTRA (Regency/20th/Disney) fell 55% to $1.3M on its 3rd Friday, and might reach $4.5M for the weekend.  A US total that barely passes $50M will make breakeven unlikely.

JUDY (Roadside) more than tripled last weekend’s theatre count to 1458, and its Friday was up 50% to $1.3M.  That might get it to a $4M weekend, which would be similar to the $5.2M weekend Late Night had at 2220, and the question will be whether it can sustain a lengthy awards season run from this early start.

RAMBO: LAST BLOOD (Lionsgate) dropped 55% to $1.1M on its 3rd Friday, and should have a $4M weekend, probably not able to reach $50M in the US.  Its international box office will determine whether it can find profit.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."