Despite an increasingly large pile of controversy surrounding Joker heading into its debut weekend, industry experts still anticipate the Todd Phillips film to have a record-setting weekend. In a new tracking report (via Deadline), it would seem Joker is all but guaranteed to come in at $80 million its opening weekend as it creep toward's Venom's October opening record of $80.2m set last Columbus Day. According to the report, Joker is the second-best-selling R-rated movie on the Atom Tickets platform this year, trailing only Lionsgate's John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum. Wick ended up winning its first weekend at the box office with a $56.8m opening in May.
Deadline reports Warner Brothers will likely push Joker hard this weekend in at least 4,000 theaters. In comparison, Venom opened in 4,250 theaters this time last year. It appears the studio will be starting previews Thursday night an hour earlier than usual, with some showings kicking off at 4 p.m. local time in most markets. An opening at $80.21m+ would cement Joker as the fourth highest R-rated comic book opening ever, behind Deadpool ($132.4m), Deadpool 2 ($125.5m), and Logan ($88.4m). It'd just edge out Venom, 300 ($70.9m), and Watchmen ($55.2m).
The controversy surrounding the film in the past few weeks stems from an Army security bulletin sent to stationed troops cautioning them about potential mass shooting threats at theaters during the film. Since, Phillips has double-downed on the storyline involved with the movie, saying the outrage is unwarranted.
"I think it's because outrage is a commodity, I think it's something that has been a commodity for a while," the director said. "What's outstanding to me in this discourse in this movie is how easily the far left can sound like the far right when it suits their agenda. It's been really eye opening for me."
"We didn't make the movie to push buttons," Phillips said in a separate interview. "I literally described to Joaquin at one point in those three months as like, 'Look at this as a way to sneak a real movie in the studio system under the guise of a comic book film'. It wasn't, 'We want to glorify this behavior.' It was literally like 'Let's make a real movie with a real budget and we'll call it f–ing Joker'. That's what it was."
Joker bows October 4th.
Will you be going to the theater to catch Joker this weekend? Let us know how many times you plan on seeing it in theaters in the comments!