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‘Joker’ to Steal Box Office Crown Back From ‘Maleficent’

Joker” may have the last laugh this weekend.

Joaquin Phoenix’s comic-book pic is narrowly beating “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” with about $18 million at the North American box office, early estimates showed on Friday.

Disney’s second weekend of the “Maleficent” sequel is coming in at about $17 million, followed by the sophomore frame of Sony’s “Zombieland: Double Tap” in the $11 million range and the third session of MGM-United Artists’ “The Addams Family” with about $10 million.

A trio of newcomers are performing above modest expectations, led by Sony’s action-thriller “Black and Blue” opening at about $9 million in fifth place. STX’s horror movie “Countdown” follows at around $7 million at 2,150 North American locations. Historical drama “The Current War,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon, looks to collect about $3 million over the weekend at 1,022 locations.

Warner Bros.’ “Joker” has shown impressive staying power with $258 million domestically in its first three weeks, easily winning the first and second weekends before Angelina Jolie’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” won last weekend with $36.9 million while “Joker” pulled in $29.3 million.

Should projections hold, “Joker” will join Disney-Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” and M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” as the only movies to win three weekends this year. It will also become the first film to win non-consecutive weekends since “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” took first in its third, fourth, fifth and seventh weekends in 2018.

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The movie, which has earned $788.1 million at the worldwide box office, has passed “Deadpool 2” to become the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time.

Black and Blue,” released through Sony’s Screen Gems, had been projected to gross $6 million from 2,062 theaters during its first three days of release. Directed by Deon Taylor, “Black and Blue” follows a rookie cop (portrayed by Naomie Harris) who inadvertently captures the murder of a young drug dealer on her body cam.

Countdown” is opening at 2,675 theaters amid expectations in the $5 million range. The PG-13 movie follows a nurse, played by Elizabeth Lail, who downloads an app that predicts when a person is going to die and finds out she only has three days to live.

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