Weekend Box Office

Weekend Box Office Results: Terminator: Dark Fate Underperforms but Finishes on Top Anyway

Joker and Maleficent cling to second and third, but the Holiday Movie Season is off to a rocky start on the weekend of November 1-3.

by | November 3, 2019 | Comments

The Holiday Movie Season is here (hooray!), and it’s not off to a good start (boo!). But save your panic, because this is still the season when The Rise of Skywalker, Frozen II, and a new Jumanji are going to make about a billion-and-a-half alone domestically. This weekend, despite four new releases, gives us a Top Ten that isn’t even going to cross $100 million. Three of those releases weren’t expected to set the box office on fire, but the numbers that the new Terminator film put up is likely to make Paramount a little nervous as they stare down their second big-budget sci-fi misfire in a row.


King of the Crop: Terminator: Dark Fate is Tops, but the Bar is Low

Paramount Pictures

(Photo by Paramount Pictures)

The Terminator series has, without question, been waning in popularity over the years. James Cameron and Linda Hamilton left after the second film. Arnold Schwarzenegger left after the third. The global sensation that was Terminator 2: Judgment Day remains one of the great action films of all-time. 12 years later, Arnold gave it another spin with Rise of the Machines, which opened to a healthy $44 million and grossed over $150 million domestically. (T2 would amount to about $386 million in ticket sales today.) The reboot of Terminator: Salvation in 2009 with Christian Bale and Sam Worthington opened to $42.5 million and finished with $125 million. Then, in 2015, Terminator: Genisys opened to $26.1 million from Weds-to-Fri — or $27 million from Fri-to-Sun — and then failed to reach $90 million stateside.

Now, 35 years after Cameron’s The Terminator premiered and four years since Cameron endorsed Genisys as the “real” Terminator 3, we now have Terminator: Dark Fate being sold to audiences as the “real” Terminator 3. And audiences are not buying. A $29 million opening is well below the low-40s projections we’ve been hearing for weeks, and it comes out to only a $7,097 per-theater-average. (T3 & T4 were each over $12,000.) Critically, the film is holding steady at 69% on the Tomatometer (the same number for the real “real” Terminator 3; the last positively-scored film in the series.) But nobody at Paramount can be thrilled with the dollar figure, given a $185 million budget, especially coming right after the failure of Ang Lee’s Gemini Man, which has grossed just $155 million worldwide to date on a $138 million budget.

Consider that only four films have ever opened in November to a PTA under $7,500 and grossed over $100 million, and all four were animated – The Polar Express ($162.77 million), Bolt ($114.05), The Princess and the Frog ($104.04), and Rise of the Guardians ($103.41). That is bad news for a film that is in the same boat as Maleficent: Mistress of Evil and needs over a half-billion dollars before we come even close to talking profit. Disney’s film only just crossed $300 million worldwide on Thursday. Genisys, the highest-grossing international Terminator to date, made $350 million and squeaked out a tiny profit. But Dark Fate may be living up to its name as it has grossed just $94 million total overseas so far.


Fresh Surprise: Focus Features Earns Another Solid Debut with Harriet

Focus Features

Ryan Fujitani

Speaking of per-theater averages, Focus Features is having a bit of a moment. Downton Abbey has grossed over $94 million and has become their highest-grossing domestic title ever. This weekend, Kasi Lemmons’ Harriet opened to $12 million and notches another top ten finish in Focus’ record books. While not a giant number, Harriet’s $5,828 per-theater-average is the sixth best ever for Focus when they launch a film in over 2,000 theaters. It ranks behind The Strangers, Insidious: Chapter 3, Coraline, Burn After Reading, and London Has Fallen, and is now ahead of Atomic Blonde, The Forest, and The Boxtrolls. A pair of Jet Li films (Unleashed and Fearless) represent the low bar of Focus’ films opening to $10 million or higher, as each grossed $24.53 and $24.63 million, respectively. The Forest is their only release to open over $11 million and fail to gross at least $32 million.


Rotten Returns: Motherless Brooklyn and Arctic Dogs Flop Spectacularly

Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures

(Photo by Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures)

The two remaining new releases are downright Goldfinchian. Edward Norton’s Motherless Brooklyn, also released by Warner Bros., cost $26 million and grossed just $3.6 million. That is just a $2,682 per-theater-average in 1,342 venues. That is comparable to STX’s The Best of Enemies from April, which had a $2,608 average in 1,705 theaters and finished with just $10.2 million. Norton said that he cashed in every favor in Hollywood to get this film made, so there may be a lot of Italian Jobs in his future.

Then on the animated front, Missing Link can rest easy that it no longer has the weakest opening of the year. That now belongs to the $50-million budgeted Arctic Dogs from Entertainment Studios. Its $3.1 million start is the lowest for an animated film released in over 2,000 theaters since Disney’s Teacher’s Pet ($2.46 million) back in 2004. That start is also the lowest ever for one released in over 3,000 theaters, replacing 2015’s Strange Magic, which opened to $5.5 million and finished with just $12.4 million. Arctic Dogs is now destined to join a list of animated films in 2,000+ theaters to gross less than $10 million that includes Ratchet & Clank, Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, Rock Dog, Doogal, The Wild Life, Early Man, and Teacher’s Pet.


The Top 10 And Beyond: Joker and Maleficent Hang on to Second and Third

Niko Tavernise/© 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

(Photo by Niko Tavernise/© 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

Joker fell back to second place this week and is now just shy of $300 million domestic. It has become the 59th film in history to cross the $900 million line and is approaching the list of the 50 highest-grossing films of all time. At $299 million, Joker is ahead of where DC’s Suicide Squad was on Day 31 ($297.32 million) and beat its fifth weekend $13.90-to-$9.91 million. That should fill in at least another $25-30 million as Todd Phillips’ film is headed past $325 million. At $934 million worldwide, even without another international dollar, Joker is going to join this list of the Top 50 grossers of all-time.

The aforementioned Maleficent: Mistress of Evil earned another $12.1 million this weekend for a total of $82 million domestic. That may be the 15th best total for an October release after 17 days and the 14th best third weekend, but it is still well in the red. It has a chance to reach $100 million domestic but even with another $298 million worldwide (which it has now) it is still about $170 million away from talking profit. United Artists Releasing’s The Addams Family, however, is headed exactly there. With another $8.4 million, the movie has passed $100 million globally and it is all IHOP gravy from there.

Neon continues to make the most out of Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite (Certified Fresh at 99%). They expanded the film into 461 theaters and it grossed $2.6 million. That puts it in the vicinity of The Favourite, which moved into 441 theaters in weekend four and grossed $2.605 million, as well as Birdman, which was in 460 theaters and made $2.31 million. Both films from Fox Searchlight went on to become Best Picture nominees and grossed $34.36 and $42.34 million, respectively. Parasite’s total stands at $7.5 million.

Fox Searchlight Pictures

(Photo by Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Speaking of which, the Fox specialty division now under Disney has Jojo Rabbit. Taika Waititi’s film was expanded in 256 theaters this weekend and grossed $2.4 million. That is also in the vicinity of Birdman’s third weekend ($2.39 million in 231 theaters) but also a little behind Searchlight’s (500) Days of Summer ($2.77 million in 266 theaters) and A24’s Lady Bird ($2.51 million in 244 theaters.) Those three films grossed between $32-49 million with a pair bolstered by their Oscar campaign. Still, if they can keep up interest and get the film to around $25 million, that will be a solid victory. Its total is currently $4.2 million.

Finally there is The Lighthouse (Certified Fresh at 92%) which A24 expanded again into 978 theaters, but fell back from last week’s Top Ten gross of $3.02 million back to $2 million. That’s a gross on par with 2017’s The Beguiled ($2.06 million in 941 theaters) just as it was last week suggesting a final total around that film’s $10.7 million is in the cards for Robert Eggers’ follow-up to The Witch.


This Time Last Year: Bohemian Rhapsody Destroys the Competition

Three new films led the box office but only one turned into a phenomenon. Bohemian Rhapsody began its run towards the Oscars and history with a $51 million opening, more than the next three films combined. They included the Disney bust, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms ($20.35 million), Tyler Perry’s Nobody’s Fool ($13.74 million) and Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born ($11 million) which passed $165 million this weekend. David Gordon Green’s Halloween also passed $150 million in fifth place. The biggest per-theater-average of the week went to Joel Edgerton’s Boy Erased ($41,411 in 5 theaters). The Top Ten films grossed $129.38 million and averaged 57.2% on the Tomatometer, while this year’s Top Ten grossed an estimated $99.3 Million and averaged 51.5% with critics.


On the Vine: Heeeere’s Ewan!

The Holiday Movie Season is undeniably frontloaded this year, with everyone trying to get their piece of the pie before Frozen II and The Rise of Skywalker dominate. The favorite going into next week is Mike Flanagan’s two-and-a-half-hour adaptation of Stephen King’s sequel to The Shining, Doctor Sleep, with Ewan McGregor. Roland Emmerich is back to blow things up with a real-life war story in Midway. For the romance fans out there, Paul Feig is teaming up Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding in Last Christmas and for families looking for an amuse-bouche before Anna & Elsa, John Cena plays a babysitting fireman in Playing with Fire. Also in limited release is Shia LaBeouf’s acclaimed autobiographical story of his relationship with his troubled father in Honey Boy.


The Full Top 10: November 1-3

  1. Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) 70% – $29 million ($29 million total)
  2. Joker (2019) 68% – $13.9 million ($299.6 million total)
  3. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) 39% – $12.18 million ($84.3 million total)
  4. Harriet (2019) 73% – $12 million ($12 million total)
  5. The Addams Family (2019) 45% – $8.5 million ($85.3 million total)
  6. Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) 68% – $7.35 million ($59.3 million total)
  7. Countdown (2019) 26% – $5.85 million ($17.77 million total)
  8. Black and Blue (2019) 52% – $4.1 million ($15.44 million total)
  9. Motherless Brooklyn (2019) 64% – $3.65 million ($3.65 million total)
  10. Arctic Dogs (2019) 12% – $3.1 million ($3.1 million total)

Erik Childress can be heard each week evaluating box office on WGN Radio with Nick Digilio as well as on Business First AM with Angela Miles and his Movie Madness Podcast.

[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]


Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Tag Cloud

Brie Larson composers SDCC Black History Month Opinion live action Apple TV Plus Fox Searchlight Exclusive Video Spectrum Originals Amazon Prime Video new zealand Sneak Peek TV Land heist movie concert diversity Disney Shudder debate Neflix archives satire PBS 2017 elevated horror Marvel Television nfl Hear Us Out RT History sequels all-time Syfy strong female leads Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Elton John Countdown dragons australia wonder woman Masterpiece TCA 2017 Drama TV Sundance spy thriller name the review Superheroes Hulu joker Lifetime reviews basketball ABC Family stand-up comedy cancelled television Lucasfilm PaleyFest franchise blaxploitation First Reviews Disney Plus casting period drama 93rd Oscars romantic comedy Character Guide 2021 french telelvision The Purge GLAAD Starz fresh supernatural Food Network Nat Geo toy story rotten Fall TV Cannes twilight singing competition high school Action jurassic park italian Musical MSNBC fast and furious films tv talk cults Winter TV Marvel Studios Red Carpet Podcast comiccon Film Star Wars indie sports CNN 90s Rocketman ITV rotten movies we love news golden globe awards international witnail Britbox Wes Anderson Cosplay YouTube Red revenge marvel cinematic universe Musicals stop motion Chernobyl Pop ViacomCBS First Look mutant Photos Binge Guide Paramount TCM Legendary Toys blockbuster spain discovery spanish TV One renewed TV shows Pacific Islander biography Rock TCA harry potter Amazon Prime Year in Review Biopics YA universal monsters Election Super Bowl die hard razzies Dark Horse Comics Amazon NBC Adult Swim Nickelodeon Alien reboot Columbia Pictures DC Universe Winners comedies dc jamie lee curtis Lionsgate crime drama Set visit Mudbound Television Academy Video Games GoT documentaries genre Writers Guild of America Instagram Live what to watch deadpool crime Comics on TV television young adult YouTube Premium book 2015 USA Emmy Nominations Emmys Holidays 24 frames Broadway National Geographic The Walking Dead Pride Month Calendar Netflix Animation suspense Tomatazos VH1 Disney+ Disney Plus dreamworks a nightmare on elm street comic doctor who Showtime comic book movies WGN pirates of the caribbean docuseries anime crime thriller halloween tv movies directors Family Pirates screenings emmy awards Spike Turner cartoon festival NBA 2018 TNT Paramount Network black comedy psycho ID game show Oscars Mary Poppins Returns venice cancelled TV shows Freeform The CW Awards Polls and Games 007 DC Comics Quiz Shondaland Song of Ice and Fire Awards Tour justice league sitcom thriller TLC Heroines game of thrones Watching Series spanish language Warner Bros. feel good Kids & Family streaming new star wars movies BAFTA Nominations Television Critics Association BET Awards 71st Emmy Awards Martial Arts Peacock Image Comics Western TCA Awards 4/20 YouTube Discovery Channel Travel Channel HBO Go godzilla hist video hispanic heritage month independent Lifetime Christmas movies The Arrangement worst New York Comic Con dogs halloween Teen History Premiere Dates BET comic book movie WarnerMedia 21st Century Fox Best and Worst legend Ovation Hallmark Christmas movies Tumblr TV movies dramedy cars travel medical drama laika canceled adaptation superman marvel comics Comedy Central SundanceTV ghosts critic resources lord of the rings Epix rt labs critics edition Rom-Com Sony Pictures hispanic VICE The Academy ESPN CMT mcc Trailer Crackle Paramount Plus Tokyo Olympics adventure critics Valentine's Day 20th Century Fox HBO Max obituary slashers slasher Sundance Now cooking spider-man kaiju GIFs spider-verse BBC book adaptation cancelled TV series boxing foreign Comedy Infographic zombies Netflix Christmas movies rom-coms Music Walt Disney Pictures Mary Tyler Moore golden globes MCU Horror space romance natural history hidden camera Film Festival Reality 99% See It Skip It art house know your critic Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Endgame scorecard japan Black Mirror FXX target CBS All Access Christmas X-Men 2016 Universal E3 award winner American Society of Cinematographers Sundance TV FX classics 2020 nbcuniversal DirecTV Cartoon Network toronto superhero robots japanese Box Office President Esquire 72 Emmy Awards vampires Baby Yoda screen actors guild IMDb TV SXSW Thanksgiving Acorn TV comic books political drama Captain marvel technology james bond Holiday HBO best prank social media Disney streaming service zombie ratings Crunchyroll popular NYCC scary movies football werewolf christmas movies Marathons FX on Hulu monster movies criterion Reality Competition Anna Paquin documentary USA Network king kong TruTV AMC parents Classic Film aapi MTV king arthur trailers scary blockbusters anthology Extras series breaking bad cops Stephen King Pixar cats south america child's play Disney Channel latino stoner Creative Arts Emmys CW Seed OneApp FOX free movies vs. Schedule Hallmark comics Sci-Fi nature San Diego Comic-Con animated LGBTQ aliens Mindy Kaling miniseries mockumentary finale Arrowverse Trophy Talk disaster Rocky dark Grammys black Certified Fresh PlayStation rt labs Country DC streaming service green book worst movies psychological thriller Ghostbusters based on movie transformers Academy Awards ABC Signature DGA RT21 Women's History Month sopranos Summer children's TV indiana jones crossover Funimation theme song The Walt Disney Company Trivia police drama posters festivals LGBT TV renewals dexter Fantasy teaser docudrama Marvel APB movie Apple Turner Classic Movies mob mission: impossible action-comedy Mystery 73rd Emmy Awards TBS talk show olympics Tarantino E! Comic-Con@Home 2021 chucky gangster A&E IFC streaming movies A24 El Rey Apple TV+ OWN TIFF true crime politics ABC war serial killer Avengers Pet Sematary kong cinemax TCA Winter 2020 versus adenture Bravo cancelled facebook Amazon Studios The Witch Universal Pictures royal family VOD spinoff live event zero dark thirty biopic Tubi 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards kids hollywood BBC One Logo Star Trek Comic Book 45 1990s sag awards binge batman women BBC America Spring TV new york unscripted Superheroe Interview quibi dceu asian-american Pop TV historical drama science fiction AMC Plus remakes sequel boxoffice rt archives richard e. Grant Ellie Kemper Fox News IFC Films canceled TV shows video on demand Vudu saw 2019 scene in color Mary poppins CBS