Joker Overthrows Maleficent: Mistress of Evil at the Box Office

It's been four weeks since Todd Phillips' Joker opened in theaters, but if you thought the Warner Bros. film would be slowing down at this point, you'd be wrong. The film continues to be a strong performer and has officially crossed the $800 million mark at the global box office and become the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time. Last week, however, Disney's much-anticipated Maleficent: Mistress of Evil edged Joker out for the top spot. This week, though, Joker has pulled its way back up top, knocking the Maleficent sequel into number two.

This weekend, Joker brought in $18.9 million at the box office. That amount bests Maleficent: Mistress of Evil's $18.53 and brings Joker's current domestic haul to $277.58 million, keeping the film on track towards what many hope will ultimately be a $1 billion worldwide box office run. In contrast, the Maleficent sequel now sits at a domestic total of $65.4 million, $93.5 million worldwide. It's important to note that with the margin between Joker and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil being as close as it is this weekend, there's still a chance that Maleficent will nudge back into the top spot once numbers are finalized on Monday, though right now that seems a bit unlikely.

What is particularly of interest with this Joker/Maleficent box office race is the initial expectations for both films. Joker had a modest, $60 million budget and its box office performance has been much better than initial expectation. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, on the other hand, hasn't quite been performing as expected. The film had been eyeing a $50 million opening weekend at the domestic box office, but ultimately only brought in $36 million -- a number far shy of the $69 million that the first film brought in during its opening weekend. Some of Maleficent's box office miss can be attributed to a number of things, including the five-year gap between the film and its predecessor, but some of it could also be attributed to Joker's continued draw.

Joker, for its part, continues to benefit from its place in popular culture at the moment. The film was initially met with positive reviews when it premiered at the Venice Film Festival, but it was then hit with controversy and concern regarding its content and the potential to spur violence. It was also hit with a wave of negative critical reviews as well, though audiences have had a very favorable response to Joker. With all of those moving parts, Joker has continued to be a major part of the cultural conversation, a status that has likely helped the film's performance at the box office as it attempts to cross that $1 billion mark.

Currently, Joker is ranked #10 for the year on Box Office Mojo's worldwide list and #7 on the domestic list. Domestically, it’s only topped by Aladdin, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Captain Marvel, Toy Story 4, The Lion King, and Avengers: Endgame. All of those movies have earned over $1 billion at the box office, so Joker still has a way to go before it beats any of them.