Joaquin Phoenix remains the ruler of the North American box office as the second weekend of “Joker” heads for an easy victory with as much as $50 million at 4,374 sites, early estimates showed Friday.
That’s far above a trio of new entries, led by animated comedy “The Addams Family” with about $30 million at 4,007 venues — above the high end of forecasts. Will Smith’s “Gemini Man” is coming in under expectations with about $19 million at 3,642 locations. Adam DeVine’s artificial intelligence comedy “Jexi” is showing little traction with about $3 million at 3,600 screens.
“Joker” gave a jolt to last weekend’s box office with $96.2 million in the fifth-largest domestic opening of 2019 — achieved amid worries about the potential violence that the film’s dark themes might evoke. It’s showing plenty of traction at multiplexes with a decline of under 50%.
“Joker” has already become profitable for Warner Bros., which partnered with Village Roadshow and Bron on the $55 million project. Should current estimates hold, “Joker” will go past $185 million by end of business on Sunday for the eight-largest 2019 title in North America.
“The Addams Family,” handled through MGM’s United Artists Releasing, has been projected to earn $21 million to $27 million from 4,007 venues. The PG film, which has been marketed toward family audiences, follows Morticia, Gomez, Wednesday and Pugsley as the Addams family brings its love of the macabre to 21st century life in New Jersey. The star-studded voice cast includes Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloe Grace Moretz, Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll, Bette Midler, Allison Janney, Elsie Fisher and Snoop Dogg. Reviewers have been unimpressed, earning the film a 32% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
“Gemini Man” launched with $1.6 million at 3,000 North American sites in Thursday night preview screenings, similarly to Brad Pitt’s “Ad Astra,” which earned $1.5 million from Thursday previews before opening with $19 million. “Gemini Man” debuts at 3,642 locations, with more than a third of those screening the film in high frame rate 3D+ format, employed by director Ang Lee to show Smith alongside a younger clone of himself.
Pre-release forecasts had placed “Gemini Man” between $24 million and $29 million from 3,642 venues. Paramount and Skydance Media shelled out $138 million to invest in the hyperrealistic visuals, while Fosun and Alibaba helped finance the movie. Reviews have been mostly downbeat with a current 29% score on Rotten Tomatoes. The cast includes Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen and Benedict Wong. “Gemini Man” kicked off at the international box office last weekend with $7 million in five markets and will expand to 54 territories, including the United Kingdom, Russia and Mexico.
“Jexi” is opening amid modest expectations in the $2 million to $7 million range. 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.
Universal’s third weekend of “Abominable” should finish fourth with about $7 million, followed by Focus Features’ fourth weekend of “Downton Abbey” in the $5 million range. “Downton Abbey” should wind up the weekend with more than $82 million in its first 24 days.