For all of its record-breaking box office success, Todd Phillips' Joker isn't without its criticisms. There's the early backlash over the film's subject matter with concerns that Joker could incite violence. There's the criticism that Joker is just a bad movie, one that is largely an imitation of, as comic book writer Dan Slott put it, "other/better films (Taxi Driver, King of Comedy, Falling Down, Fight Club, etc.)" Then there's Hugh Grant's complaint about the Joaquin Phoenix-starring film: the volume.
Soon after Joker's release, Grant took to Twitter to complain rather generically that "the cinema" was much too loud to the point of being unendurable and pointless. Further in the thread, when the theater responded to him, he noted specifically that the film he was screening at the time was Joker.
Am I old or is the cinema MUCH TOO LOUD? Unendurable. Pointless. @vuecinemas— Hugh Grant (@HackedOffHugh) October 5, 2019
As criticism of Joker goes, Grant's volume complaint is a bit unique, but even if things were a bit too loud -- for Grant or any viewer for that matter -- it doesn't appear to be doing much to slow the Warner Bros. film down. Joker is the studio's biggest hit of the year with a still-growing worldwide box office of over $543 million. In fact, some of the criticism may be a contributing factor as to why Joker has been such a box office success.
“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 of the headline-making outcry surrounding Joker pre-release. “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.”
Now, with the success of the film, cinematographer Lawrence Sher says that he is hopeful Warner Bros. and other studios will take chances 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 in a recent interview. “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.”
Joker is now playing in theaters everywhere. Other upcoming DC 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.