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The Joker gets the last laugh on a scary weekend

Los Angeles

JOKER won a battle of the supervillains over the weekend, selling an estimated US$18.9 million in tickets to edge out Maleficent: Mistress of Evil and regain the top spot in North American theatres, an industry group reported on Sunday.

The Joaquin Phoenix scarefest slipped from the previous weekend's take of US$29.2 million for the Friday-to-Sunday period, but still bested the US$18.5 million taken in by Maleficent, a dark fantasy from Disney starring Angelina Jolie.

Joker, with Phoenix incarnating Batman's notorious nemesis, accomplished the rare feat of returning to No 1 in its fourth week out. It has now taken in an impressive US$849.1 million globally, becoming the most successful R-rated movie in history, according to Variety.

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With Halloween only days away, scary movies did well overall.

In third spot was The Addams Family from United Artists, at US$11.7 million. The computer animation, following the spooky Addams family and some creepy relatives, features the voices of Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Snoop Dogg and Bette Midler.

In fourth, at US$11.6 million in its second week out, was Sony's Zombieland: Double Tap, a comedy starring Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone and Luke Wilson.

New release Countdown from STX films was placed fifth at US$9 million. The low-budget horror film tells the tale of a nurse (Elizabeth Lail) who finds an app that predicts exactly when people will die - and learns her own death is only days away.

Rounding out the top 10 were: Black and Blue (US$8.3 million), Gemini Man (US$4 million), The Lighthouse (US$3.1 million), The Current War: Director's Cut (US$2.7 million), and Abominable (US$2 million) AFP