The Todd Phillips-directed Joker bypassed $900 million at the worldwide box office over the weekend, far surpassing Deadpool ($783 million) as the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time when not adjusting for inflation. Its box office haul is expected to be $920m by end of day Sunday. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Joker on Friday reached $289.5m domestically with its foreign tally through Thursday standing at $602.3m for a combined $891.8m. Box office analysts now say Joker could finish its theatrical run with $950m, and the film could potentially reach $1 billion.
Joker is now several steps ahead of the R-rated Deadpool 2 ($785m) and Warner Bros.' own The Matrix Reloaded ($742m) and IT ($700m). In unadjusted numbers, Joker has just bypassed 2007's Spider-Man 3 ($895m) to become the 13th highest-grossing "superhero" movie of all time. Among DC films, Joker ranks fourth, behind only last year's Aquaman ($1.14 billion), 2012's The Dark Knight Rises ($1.08 billion) and 2008's The Dark Knight ($1 billion).
"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 previously told Variety after Joker's record-setting opening weekend. "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."
"The path he takes is one of destruction and chaos, and yet, he's a character — particularly as portrayed by Joaquin — that you empathize with. And I think, when you have a movie that you spend time seeing a human being turn and become the worst part of himself and go down a path of violence and other things, and the end of the movie is almost operatic in that it's lifting him up… it's a conflicting feeling," cinematographer Lawrence Sher previously told the Go Creative Show. "Because you've now aligned yourself with this person on screen, and he does some bad things, and that happens, and I think that makes for a conflicting movie. I think it also makes for a movie that's super interesting."
Sher is also hopeful the critical and financial success of Joker encourages Warner Bros. and other studios to bet on other "risky" projects.
"One of the things I'm most happy and proud of the movie on its own — but also the fact that audiences seem to really respond to it — is it bucks the trend that people always say movies have to be purely an escape or they have to be fun and easy, or 'don't do this in a movie, because you'll never get the audience,'" Sher said. "This movie challenges all of those things, and its box office result has just proved that audiences are ready and are excited by things that are different, and risky, and even at times just wholly artistic. I think this movie stands alone in a studio space, certainly, in a way that's very exciting, and I'm super proud to have been a part of it."