Update: We jumped the gun on this a bit. Though it came close, Joker didn't quite surpass Justice League's $93.8 million opening in November 2017. That makes it the second-biggest opening since Wonder Woman for Warner Bros. The story has been edited to reflect this.
Joker opened in theaters on Friday and the film is proving to be a big win for Warner Bros. The film broke Venom’s October opening day record by earning more than $39.8 million on Friday. It also had the biggest October opening weekend ever, earning $93.5 million compared to Venom’s $80 million. More than that, Joker is Warner Bros.' second-biggest opening weekend in more than two years, since Wonder Woman opened in June 2017 with $103 million. Joker’s success comes with the restrictions that come from an R rating, and amid controversy and security concerns surrounding the film.
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 directed by Todd Phillips.
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."
In interviews, Phoenix has avoided classifying Joker as a traditional superhero or blockbuster movie. “I wouldn’t quite classify this as like any genre," Phoenix said during an interview. "I wouldn’t say it’s a superhero movie, or a studio movie or a … It feels unique, and I think more than anything, and probably the most important thing, is Todd seems very passionate about it and very giving, and so that’s exciting.
"I think, underneath the excitement of these films, and the size of them, there are these incredible characters that are dealing with real-life struggles. And sometimes that is uncovered and exposed, and sometimes it isn’t, and so I always felt, like, there were characters in comics that were really interesting and deserve the opportunity to be kind of
What do you think of Joker's box office success? What did you think of the film? Let us know in the comments. Joker is now playing in theaters.
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.