BOX OFFICE: Will “Joker” top “Maleficent 2?” Will “Countdown” clear $10 million? “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” returns with 4 new scenes

“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” aka “Maleficent 2” underwhelmed — for a Disney franchise picture — on its opening weekend, pulling in $36 million when projections were for it to be well into the $40s.

It’s on a lot of screens, and managers I’ve spoken with this week say it’s drawing nicely. Still, any falloff over 50% this weekend and “Joker” will edge it to return to #1 at the box office.

Both films should do around $17 million, so we won’t know for sure until Sunday. It’s going to be that close.

“Joker” is already the biggest R-rated hit ever, over $900 million globally.

“Zombieland: Double Tap” slightly over-performed expectations last weekend. It could clear another $14 this weekend, says Box Office Mojo.

The new horror film “Countdown” isn’t great, isn’t terrible, and could connect with its audience. $10 million appears to be its ceiling, but you never know.

count2Mixed reviews and a known, but not box office cast headed by Naomie Harris, Tyrese Gibson and Frank Grillo, mean that the cop chased by bad cops through New Orleans thriller — “Black and Blue” will not manage $10 million — $8 million is projected. I thought it a solid genre pic, and think it deserves better. Word out mouth might help.

“The Current War” had to be reedited to warrant any sort of release at all. It’s on its third studio. Harvey Weinstein butchered it and abandoned it in the middle of the uproar over his decades of sexual assaults. “The Director’s Cut” is pretty good and worth your time, the best of the new releases this weekend. Will anybody see it? Benedict Cumberbatch/Tom Holland/Nikola Tesla-Nicholas Hoult fans?

Michael Shannon’s people will show up. Near the top of the list of “Best Actors to Never Win an Oscar.”

“Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” returns to 1500 screens with four more scenes, a bit more of Rick Dalton’s “Bounty Law” TV show acting and some other material. I thought it was long enough as it was, but hey.

The chilling and beautifully acted “The Lighthouse” goes into wider release.

 

 

 

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