Joker -- the low-budget hit Warner Bros. wasn't sure about making -- is about to make movie history.
Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix's controversial Joker movie has the best October opening weekend ever at the box office, and now it is poised to add another record to its list: Highest grossing R-rated movie in film history.
THR reports that the hit DC comics movie, which has a worldwide box office take (so far) of $737.5 million after three weekends of release, is on track to dethrone 2016's Deadpool. That R-rated Marvel/Fox movie, starring Ryan Reynolds as the Merc With the Mouth, is the current record holder with $783 million (not adjusted for inflation.) 2018's Deadpool 2 is right behind the original, with $783 million. (If you factor in the grosses from the film's PG-13 cut, the total box office tallies at $785M worldwide.)
Joker has exceeded all expectations and has a chance to make a billion dollars worldwide in record time. (Not bad for a movie that Warner Bros. was not fully sold on making, so they mitigated the costs across other stakeholders and financial partners.) The movie has performed well domestically, scoring $29.2M over the weekend of Oct. 18. It's currently grossed $247.2M in North America -- more than Justice League. Overseas, its total as of press time is an impressive $737.5M. That makes Joker the fourth-best DC movie at the international box office, following 2018's Aquaman ($811.8M), 2012's The Dark Knight Rises ($636.3M), and 2016's Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice ($537M).
Joker is expected to ultimately take in close to $900 million globally; some even think it has a shot at earning $1 billion.
What's helping Joker's record-breaking streak? In addition to the controversial buzz leading to its release, as well as the good reviews for Phoenix's awards-worthy performance, Joker's tight two hour run time allows multiplexes to churn out plenty of showtimes to satisfy audience demand and keep selling tickets. The effective marketing campaign -- especially those one-sheets -- also helped elevate the movie into must-see status for both die-hard comic book fans and for more mainstream/four-quadrant audiences.
The takeaway here is that studio IP can draw in crowds outside the Comic-Con set, and that audiences are willing to pay to see certain chances taken within the comic book movie genre that make it seem less cookie-cutter.
What do you think? Should fans expect a Joker sequel soon?