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‘Joker’ Remains Box Office Ruler With $55 Million

Joaquin Phoenix is king of the North American box office once again as “Joker” scores an easy victory in its second weekend with $55 million at 4,374 sites.

Joker” dominated a trio of new entries with animated comedy “The Addams Family” leading the rest of pack with $30.3 million at 4,007 venues, topping forecasts. Will Smith’s “Gemini Man” wound up under expectations with $20.5 million at 3,642 locations. Adam DeVine’s artificial intelligence comedy “Jexi” generated little interest with $3.1 million at 2,332 screens.

“Joker” showed plenty of traction, declining only 43% from its impressive opening of $96.2 million, the fifth-largest domestic launch of 2019 despite worries about the negative impact of the film’s darker themes. Moviegoers have stayed strongly engaged with a 10-day total of more than $192 million.

The psychological thriller has already become hugely profitable for Warner Bros., which partnered with Village Roadshow and Bron on the $55 million project. And with a solid international performance of $351 million, “Joker” has hit $543 million at the worldwide box office in less than two weeks.

The Addams Family,” handled through MGM’s United Artists Releasing, had been projected to earn $21 million to $27 million. The PG film, which has been marketed toward family audiences, follows Morticia, Gomez, Wednesday,  Pugsley and Uncle Fester as they bring their love of the macabre to 21st century life in New Jersey.

Pre-release forecasts had placed “Gemini Man” between $24 million and $29 million, but competition from “Joker” plus downbeat reviews — the film currently sits at 26% on Rotten Tomatoes — yielded a disappointing result, given the $138 million price tag for Paramount, Skydance Media, Fosun and Alibaba. The film follows Will Smith who battles a younger clone of himself, which director Ang Lee achieved through hyperrealistic visuals.

Jexi” opened in ninth place at the lower end of modest expectations. Adam DeVine stars as a man addicted to his phone, whose life changes thanks to a digital life coach named Jexi. The movie is the last theatrical release by CBS Films before it’s absorbed into CBS Corporation’s Entertainment Group.

The top two films continue the recent trend of solid overall performances in North America, according to Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with Comscore. As of Sunday, year-to-date box office is down 5% at $8.85 billion. That gap was at 9.1% in mid-July.

“‘Joker’ continues to enthrall audiences, spark conversation and generate interest as reflected by a very modest drop of 43% in its second weekend,” he said. “‘The Addams Family’ found favor with family audiences that were excited by the Halloween season friendly and nostalgia generating animated film.”

Universal’s third weekend of animated adventure “Abominable” finished fourth with $6.2 million at 3,494 locations for a $48 million total after 17 days. Focus Features’ fourth frame of “Downtown Abbey” followed in fifth with $4.9 million at 3,019 sites for a 24-day take of nearly $83 million.

STX’s fifth weekend of “Hustlers” came in sixth with $3.9 million at 2,357 venues. The Jennifer Lopez comedy-drama has shown staying power at multiplexes with $98 million in a month.

Roadside Attractions’ third session of Renee Zellweger’s “Judy” finished seventh with $3.3 million at 1,627 sites. Sunday’s estimates had “Judy” edging out Warner Bros.’ sixth weekend of “It: Chapter Two” with $3.2 million at 2,303 locations for a 38-day domestic take of $207.1 million.

“Jexi,” which also starred Michael Pena and Rose Byrne, followed in ninth. Fox’s fourth weekend of Brad Pitt space saga “Ad Astra” rounded out the top 10 with $1.9 million at 1,678 venues.

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