Maleficent Manages the Win

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It was a dandy weekend for the bad guys.

Well, not bad bad guys, necessarily. Many of these black hats hide hearts of gold. Take the star of this weekend’s box-office champion, Maleficent. The old Sleeping Beauty villain turned an ethical corner with 2014’s Maleficent, wherein she turned nice and the movie itself turned a tidy profit. (The original earned $241.4 million domestically.)

But the name of this year’s sequel—Maleficent: Mistress of Evil—reminds us that old habits die hard. The movie’s performance also suggested that it’s hard to draw people in for a sequel sometimes: Sure, Mistress of Evil did finish No. 1, but it earned just an estimated $36 million in North America, falling well short of Disney’s own estimates (according to Box Office Mojo). Given that the original Maleficent debuted with nearly twice that take ($69.4 million), the sequel feels a bit sleepy by comparison.

Still, $36 mil was enough to knock Joker, the two-time defending champ, off its box-office perch. Of all the bad ‘uns in this week’s countdown, no one is arguably badder than Joaquin Phoenix’s Clown Prince of Crime—or being so good at being bad. While Joker’s weekend haul dipped to $29.2 million, those grosses pushed the film’s overall North American earnings to $247.2 million. That makes Joker the year’s seventh-biggest movie, behind sixth-place Aladdin’s $355.6 million.

Oh, and while we’re looking at year-to-date revenues, Joker becomes technically the fourth superhero movie to crack the year’s top 10, joining Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame (No. 1, $858.4 million) Captain Marvel (No. 4, $426.8 million) and Spider-Man: Far From Home (No. 5, $390.5 million). ‘Course, even though Joker made his name fighting Batman through the decades, you’d have to squint really, really hard to see much superhero DNA here.

Zombieland 2: Double Tap brought its own nefarious villains—the titular zombies—to the box-office party this weekend. The festering flick earned $26.7 million in its debut weekend to finish third.

Speaking of Fester, The Addams Family is still a thing at the box-office. The animated film continues to put the gross in grosses, collecting another spooky $16.1 million and drawing in audiences from here until Wednesday. The flick has snapped up $56.8 million in North America, all told.

Gemini Man, the tender story of an ethical assassin fighting off his much younger clone, closed out the weekend’s top five, banking just $8.5 million. There was a time when just one Will Smith could earn that sort of money just by clipping his toenails. This weekend though, though, was apparently not enough to be just an old Bad Boy. You need to be bad to the bone.