Todd Phillips' Joker has reclaimed its #1 spot at the box office, beating out Maleficent: Mistress of Evil by only a slight margin. A massive success for WB and a career-best for star Joaquin Phoenix, Joker functions as both a searing sociopolitical commentary and an unflinching character portrait. It appears to have resonated with audiences in a big (and surprising) way, and its box office numbers are expected to climb even higher than the $800 million the movie has already earned worldwide. Joker has been out for almost a month and it continues to crush it at the box office. It mostly functions as its own thing, even if it does contain some surprising references.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is the sequel to 2014's Maleficent, a Sleeping Beauty tale told from the villain's perspective. The first film did well at the box office, prompting Disney to greenlight a sequel. Starring Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Ed Skrein, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Michelle Pfeiffer, the sequel delves deeper into the Aurora/Maleficent dynamic and explores the mythical land they inhabit with a keener eye. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil isn't perfect by any stretch, but it is beautiful movie with plenty of cool moments that are very in keeping with Disney's live-action spectacles. And audiences are clearly itching for some of that Disney magic (and incredible lore).
According to THR, Phillips' Joker outperformed Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, earning $18.9 million against the latter's $18.5 million. These numbers could change on Monday when estimates become solid numbers, but the films' respective studios are showing these numbers as strong possibilities.
Frankly, Maleficent as a character doesn't have the staying power that the Joker has had for decades. One is an iconic Batman villain, the other a popular Disney villain - the winner of that square-off should be evident. Still, the fact that Maleficent: Mistress of Evil came so close to beating Joker is something for Disney to celebrate, proving that the Mouse House can offer counter-programming to the hottest film in the world and still rake in tons of money.
Joker's success is somewhat surprising, too, because the movie mostly functions as its own thing, unconnected from other DC Comics-based films (even if it does contain some surprising Batman references). Only time will tell if Joker holds on to the top spot for another week or three, but there's no denying its already had an incredibly successful release.
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