Joker Has a Chance to Become Highest Grossing R-Rated Movie of All Time

Joker may be on its way to becoming the biggest R-rated movie of all time. Joker is set to cross the $700 million mark this weekend. That will put it well past the Logan's $619 million, and then past the Stephen King horror film It's $700 million, making it the fourth highest-grossing R-rated film of all-time at the worldwide box office. That's behind The Matrix Reloaded with $742 million in 2003, Deadpool with $783 million in 2016, and Deadpool 2 with $785 million in 2018 (though its total was $735 million before it was re-released with a PG-13 rating as Once Upon a Deadpool). Tracking Joker's current momentum, it is possible that the film will break $800 million according to Forbes.

There's is one caveat. The Chinese action movie Wolf Warrior 2 grossed $854 when it was released in 2017. The film wasn't released in the United States and so it did not receive an MPAA rating, but its extreme violence would almost certainly have earned it an R if it had been reviewed for a rating. Then again, Wolf Warrior 2 didn't have to worry about the legal restrictions put on R-rated films at the domestic box office. Either way, while Wolf Warrior 2 got there first, Joker would be the first officially R-rated film to achieve such box office heights.

Joker is already the highest-grossing Warner Bros. release of the year at the global box office. “Not only did Joker over-perform in North America, but also internationally where the acclaim, buzz and controversy surrounding the film resonated strongly with moviegoers who put the film at the top of their cinematic priority list,” Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian noted. “Movies that become part of the general conversation due to their controversial nature are often those that transcend their status as a movie to become a cultural event and this is exactly what happened with Joker.”

Joker is a grounded, R-rated origin story for Batman's archnemesis, the Joker. Phoenix plays Arthur Fleck, who descends into madness and emerges as the clown-faced killer known as the Joker. The film also stars Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Bill Camp, Shea Whigham, and Marc Maron.

The film is proving polarizing with critics. ComicBook.com's Brandon Davis calls the film a masterpiece is his 5-star review, writing, "Whether or not Joker is a social commentary on issues such as poverty or mental illness, a new and mysterious take on the best known DC Comics villain, or just another unforgettable piece of cinema which producer Martin Scorsese is attached to, you’ll need to see to believe it and, even then, you still might not believe it."

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Upcoming DC Films movies include Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) on February 7, 2020, Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5, 2020, The Batman on June 25, 2021, The Suicide Squad on August 6, 2021, and Aquaman 2 on December 16, 2022.