Weekend Box Office: “Maleficent” Tops List Despite Low Numbers

It was a disappointing start for “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” with the Disney sequel opening to less than half of the original. The film did, however, edge out “Joker” and “Zombieland: Double Tap” for the top spot.

Following “Gemini Man,” it’s the second very expensive domestic disappointment in as many weeks. Another sequel, “Zombieland: Double Tap” had a decent start, although as expected it was bested by the third weekend of “Joker.”

The numbers indicate another weekend below the same period in 2018. With an estimated total of around $136 million, that’s 20% lower than last year, when “Halloween” opened to more than “Maleficent” and “Zombieland” combined. It also extends the annual shortfall to nearly $550 million and almost 6%, eliminating any real hope of box-office growth.

Before Emma Stone won an Oscar and Jesse Eisenberg made “The Social Network,” they starred in the 2009 horror comedy “Zombieland.” And while it can be difficult to reboot a franchise a decade later, the principals returned. While the budget increased (from $23.6 million to $42 million), its opening weekend did not. Adjusted, the original opened to $29 million. “Double Tap” made a decent but unspectacular $26.7 million. Hopes now ride on its pre-Halloween playtime.

Second place this weekend goes to “Joker,” which already has reached nearly $250 million. That is ahead of last fall’s smash hits “A Star Is Born” and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and it has a shot of adding $75 million more to its domestic take. It is nearing $750 million worldwide, with an ultimate take of between $900 million and $1 billion in sight.

That’s without China, which won’t release the film. But with a budget of about $65 million — about 40% compared to “Mistress of Evil” — that’s a huge win for Warners.

At a reported $40 million cost, “The Addams Family” is turning into a nice result for United Artists. With the Halloween days set to boost it, $57 million in 10 days positions it for a possible $100 million total.

The Top Five

1. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (Disney)

Cinemascore: A; Metacritic: 43
Estimated budget: $185 million

$36,000,000 in 3,790 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $9,499; Cumulative: $36,000,000

2. Joker (Warner Bros.)

Week 3
Last weekend: #1
$29,205,000 (-48%) in 4,090 theaters (-284); PTA: $7,141; Cumulative: $247,229,000

3. Zombieland: Double Tap (Sony)

Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic: 56
Estimated budget: $48 million

$26,725,000 in 3,468 theaters; PTA: $7,706; Cumulative: $26,725,000

4. The Addams Family (United Artists)

Week 2; Last weekend: #2

$16,057,000 (-47%) in 4,102 theaters (+95); PTA: $3,914; Cumulative: $56,816,000

5. Gemini Man (Paramount)

Week 2; Last weekend: #3

$8,500,000 (-59%) in 3,642 theaters (no change); PTA: $2,334; Cumulative: $36,517,000