The number of comic book movies that land in theaters each year means they all hope to earn some sort of distinction, with Joker now earning the title of being the most profitable comic book film of all time, according to a new report from Forbes. The film is projected to have earned $957 million worldwide through the weekend, which is more than 15 times its estimated budget of $62.5 million. Various other costs related to the film might not be accounted for, such as its marketing campaign, but speaking purely to its gross vs. production costs, Joker takes the top spot.
Prior to Joker, Jim Carrey's The Mask was considered the most profitable, as it earned $351 million on a budget of $23 million. Forbes broke down other top competitors among other comic book movies inspired by major publishers, which are Venom (earning $854 million on a budget of $90 million), Batman (earning $411 million on a budget of $35 million), and Deadpool (earning $783 million on a budget of $58 million).
Joker is far short of becoming the top-grossing comic book movie of all time, as Avengers: Endgame became the top-grossing movie of all time earlier this year with nearly $2.8 billion worldwide. Despite both being comic book movies, they both exist in entirely different leagues, as Joker is rated R and isn't a team-up film that paid off nearly a decade of storytelling.
Despite Endgame earning more money than Joker, it's hard to deny the cultural impact that the DC Comics film has had on superhero cinema. Regardless of the quality of the film, its release was surrounded by controversy, due to its depictions of violence, with some theaters even apprehensive that the unsettling subject matter could inspire real-world acts of violence.
"There were a lot of misunderstandings around the history of the tragic shooting in Aurora, [Colorado, in 2012,] which happened at a [The Dark Knight Rises]," Warner Bros. exec Toby Emmerich shared with The Hollywood Reporter. "And we were certainly supersensitive to it [and the tragedy for the victims and their loved ones]. But that film and that shooting had no connection in any way to the Joker character. So we had to judge our film on its own merits."
He continued, "A lot of the social media comments around the film were by people who hadn't seen the film and didn't know what it was. We looked at the film really closely and did feel that it was a great film. That it was a piece of art. And we didn't think it would inspire violence. We took it to Venice, where it won the Golden Lion. And we felt comfortable releasing the film."
Joker is in theaters now.
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