Never mind Joker. Yes, Joker had a huge opening weekend and plenty of critics, but the Downton Abbey movie is the one getting the last laugh, since it had way more doubters. Who knew it would make THIS much money? And its theatrical run is just getting started.
The TV show got its own movie, and it not only opened in theaters, it’s still slaying in theaters. Downton Abbey made five times its $20 million production budget after about a week and it can’t stop won’t stop making more money.
In its third weekend, Downton Abbey picked up another $8 million at the domestic box office, for a current worldwide total of $135.4 million — $73.6M domestic and $61.8M foreign, per Box Office Mojo.
It’s clearly still doing well in its own lane, with not much direct demo competition from the other movies out there.
For all the “controversy” about Joker, the movie has tons of supporters. Even perpetual curmudgeon Michael Moore decided to post a stirring defense of the movie. And Joker may not be a typical comic book movie, but it is about a famous comic book character. Downton Abbey, on the other hand, entered theaters like a hobo at the queen’s royal reception. What is THAT television show doing in theaters?
Downton Abbey wasn’t expected to beat Rambo: Last Blood or Brad Pitt’s Ad Astra space movie in its opening weekend, but it handily defeated both, even though it played on fewer screens. It also gave Focus Features its best opening of all-time.
Rambo V took a little shot at Downton Abbey in defense of its own movie, seeming to argue that Rambo‘s haters were just wimpy tea-loving Downton fans. Saturday Night Live also took a shot at Downton in defense of Joker, arguing that Downton was boring and low-stakes, and Joker may not be perfect but at “at least stuff happens.”
But too bad, ’cause guess what? People love Downton Abbey! Audiences and critics actually agree about it, both rating the movie high. It may confuse people who weren’t already caught up on the TV show, but it also probably opened the door wide open for more TV shows to hit the big screen.
Also, since Downton is still finding a strong audience in theaters after three weeks, the door is probably open for sequels. It sounds like the creative team is open to that idea.
To me, the Downton Abbey movie is a true underdog. It was overlooked, dismissed, and mocked on its way to surprising almost everyone. Almost, I say, because the true Downton Abbey fans turned up for it and showed everyone class and wit can sometimes win over the loudest voices in the room.