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[BOX OFFICE] ‘Joker’ still dancing at top of local, U.S. box office

Ranking barely moves as multiple Will Smiths fail to make an impact

Oct 15,2019
“Joker” continues to dominate both local and North American box offices despite the release of new Hollywood blockbuster film “Gemini Man” featuring star Will Smith as the lead role. [WARNER BROS. PICTURES]
“Joker” held onto the top spot at the local box office for a second week. As there were no major films released this weekend except for Hollywood blockbuster “Gemini Man,” very little changed in the ranking from last week.

“Joker” sold 768,000 tickets over the weekend across 1,312 screens. Although it is a considerable drop from its first week, which saw 1.3 million people head to the theatre, the film’s total has now reached 3.8 million tickets in 12 days.

Korean romantic comedy “Crazy Romance” came in second with 468,000 tickets across 1,036 screens.

Featuring veteran actors Kong Hyo-jin and Kim Rae-won, reviews praised the duo’s vivid, almost lifelike portrayal of breakups, the rumors and gossip that spread in an office, and - despite the disappointments and ugliness - the meaning of starting a new relationship. The film, which premiered on the same day as “Joker,” also made over 2 million admissions sales in less than two weeks.

“Man of Men” remained in third place, pulling in 168,000 moviegoers to 719 screens.

“Gemini Man” debuted in fourth, getting tantalizingly close to third place, but just missing out with 165,000 tickets across 828 screens.

The film features Hollywood star Will Smith as Henry Brogan, a top government assassin looking to retire, who finds himself in a fight for his life against a young agent who bares an uncanny resemblance to Brogan as a young man.

Local war film “Battle of Jangsari” slipped down a rank to fifth place, barely passing 25,000 ticket sales across 325 screens over the weekend. The film sold over 1.1 million admissions since its release on Sept. 25.

At the North American box office, “Joker” proved the first weekend was no fluke - it’s a hit.

The R-rated comic book villain origin story had a phenomenal second weekend at the box office, topping the charts once more over newcomers such as the animated “The Addams Family” and the Will Smith action pic “Gemini Man.”

Warner Bros. said Sunday that “Joker” added an estimated $55 million from North American theaters this weekend, bringing its domestic total to $192.7 million.

Not only are the pure grosses impressive, but “Joker” also dropped only 43 percent from its record-breaking debut.

For comic book films, which are often front-loaded and regularly see second weekend falls that are over 50 percent, it’s a notably small dip. It’s also a slightly lower drop than “Wonder Woman” and “Black Panther” - both of which had higher initial openings and went on to have long lives in theaters.

“These are incredible numbers and really reflect how interested and excited people were,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore.

The film had a roller coaster ride to release, with highs like winning the top prize at the Venice Film Festival, and lows when concerns about the film inciting violence made headlines and prompted increased security at many theaters across the country. But audiences have spoken with their dollars and “were not going to be deterred,” Dergarabedian said.

“It shows that content wins. A great movie will rise up above all the noise over whatever controversy or security concerns there were,” he added. “You’re totally left out of the water cooler conversation if you haven’t seen ‘Joker.’”

Internationally, “Joker” added $123.7 million from 79 markets, bringing its global total to $543.9 million after just 12 days in theaters.

The second weekend success of “Joker” played well alongside the counterprogramming of the kid-friendly “Addams Family,” which exceeded expectations and came in a strong second with $30.3 million.

United Artists Releasing distributed the film from MGM and BRON Creative that features the voices of Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron and Bette Midler. “The Addams Family” defied middling reviews (43 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and benefited from a marketplace with relatively few family-friendly options in theaters right now, aside from “Abominable” which is now in its third weekend.

The ambitious, star-driven “Gemini Man” was not so lucky. The visual effects-heavy Ang Lee film opened in third place with only $20.5 million.

Reviews were overwhelmingly poor - it’s currently at 26 percent on Rotten Tomatoes - but “Gemini Man” also had the “Joker” factor to contend with, which may have contributed to the disappointing opening, according to Dergarabedian.

“Gemini Man” was not a cheap endeavor either. The film from Paramount and Skydance cost a reported $140 million to make after rebates and will have a difficult time breaking even.

Rounding out the top five were “Abominable,” with $6.2 million, and “Downton Abbey,” with $4.9 million.

In limited release, Bong Joon-Ho’s “Parasite” had an extraordinary weekend, earning $376,264 from only three locations. Its $125,421 per theater average is a record for 2019.

“It’s amazing how well [“Parasite”] did. It’s one of the biggest stories of the weekend,” Dergarabedian said. “That per theater average means that those movie theaters were full. The demand far outweighed the supply.”

Neon is distributing the class-conscious Korean thriller, which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year and is already a massive hit internationally, with over $70.9 million from South Korea alone. With near-unanimous rave reviews, “Parasite” is also expected to be an awards contender and will be expanding in North America in the coming weeks.

BY LEE JAE-LIM, AP [lee.jaelim@joongang.co.kr]



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