BOX OFFICE: “Joker” laughing all the way to the bank — a $94/95 million opening


I was checking around town to see if any movie had been smuggled in by a small studio to one of America’s Vacationland’s many mega-multiplexes last night when I noticed something one doesn’t normally see.

All these showtimes for one movie “greyed-out” over the weekend. “Joker” was pre-sold and selling out for big chunks of its opening weekend.

Even at the Disney Springs AMC. It’s not just locals, but people on vacation at the priciest theme park of them all are setting aside time — FAMILY time — to see a disturbing, R-rated parable about America as it is today.

Add that up nationwide, and now is upping its “Joker” opening weekend prediction — more reliable Sat. AM than Friday afternoon — to $94 million, obliterating the last comic book movie (“Venom”) to hold that October opening weekend record ($80.222 million), a record set just last year. The Hollywood Reporter is going all in on a $95 million weekend.

Friday — including $13 million plus Thursday night — the film set a $39.9 million opening day record.

This is the biggest opening the film’s director, who also directed “The Hangover” (Todd Phillips) franchise, has ever opened. Joaquin Phoenix? Same for him, and an almost certain Oscar nomination for best actor because A) he’s that good and B) Hollywood loves a winner.

Predictions for that opening were in the $80-85 range, but this Warner Brothers gamble could reach $100 million if more of those showtimes turn grey over the weekend.

We will have a clearer picture later today.

“Abominable” is holding enough of its audience share to manage a $12 million second weekend, a very distance second place.

“Downton Abbey” may yet hit $75 million, overall, by midnight Sunday on its way to a $100 million take.

“Hustlers” will be over $91, and will hit $100 million NEXT weekend.

“Judy” added 1000 screens but only upped its take by $1 million, to $4.1 over last weekend’s opening.

Two Indian films have cracked the bottom of the BO charts — the Bollywood star vs. Bollywood star action pic “War,” and the period piece “Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy” are on enough screens to clear $1 million or so each.

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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