The Walt Disney Co.'s "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil" knocked "Joker" out of the No. 1 spot at the box office, but just barely.
Studios on Sunday say the film starring Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning grossed an estimated $36 million in North America and $117 million internationally in its first weekend in theaters. The first film had a much stronger domestic showing, opening to nearly $70 million domestically in 2014, and the sequel was expected to earn more stateside.
"It's not as strong as we hoped domestically, but it's a good start for October and we have a great window leading into Halloween," said Cathleen Taff, Disney's president of theatrical distribution. "Most encouraging is the fact that audiences seem to be responding very positively."
The A CinemaScore — in contrast to the mixed critical reviews — suggests that the film could have a longer life at the box office.
Although it fell to second place after two weekends at the top, Warner Bros.' "Joker" continues to hold strong with audiences. It added $29.2 million in its third weekend in North America. The villain origin story has grossed over $247 million domestically. Worldwide, it's earned $737.5 million and has already surpassed the lifetime grosses of "Justice League" and "Suicide Squad."
Third place went to another new sequel, Columbia Pictures' "Zombieland: Double Tap," with $26.7 million. The R-rated comedy comes 10 years after the original, reuniting Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Woody Harrelson with director Ruben Fleischer.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters:
1. "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil," $36 million.
2. "Joker," $29.5 million.
3. "Zombieland: Double Tap," $26.7 million.
4. "The Addams Family," $16.1 million.
5. "Gemini Man," $8.5 million.
6. "Abominable," $3.5 million.
7. "Downton Abbey," $3.1 million.
8. "Judy," $2.1 million.
9. "Hustlers," $2.1 million.
10. "It: Chapter Two," $1.5 million.