Joker Movie's Level of Success Surprised Warner Bros.

Joker, the latest DC film from Warner Bros., was released earlier this month and has already set tons of records. Not only did it break most October records, but it also beat Deadpool to become the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time. When the movie hit $800 million last week, Warner Bros. Chairman, Toby Emmerich, issued a statement about the movie’s success. He congratulated his colleagues at Warner Bros. and DC for “reaching this extraordinary benchmark.” Emmerich was also included in The Hollywood Reporter’s recent executives roundtable, where he revealed the company was ultimately surprised by Joker’s level of success.

“Toby, in Toronto at the premiere of Joker, one thing you mentioned stuck with me. You said, ‘We wanted to do something that we knew Marvel and Disney could never do.’ Is that how you approach the DC library?,” The Hollywood Reporter asked.

“The impetus behind making Joker really came from Todd [Phillips]. But one of the advantages of being Warner Bros. and having DC is that we don't feel that all the movies have to be — not that Disney's films are — but we don't feel our films have to be of the same tone or in a connected universe. We thought making an R-rated supervillain origin story was a cool idea. We didn't see [the success] coming at this level when we greenlit the film,” Emmerich explained.

Currently, Joker is ranked #7 on Box Office Mojo's domestic list for 2019. Domestically, it’s only topped by Aladdin, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Captain Marvel, Toy Story 4, The Lion King, and Avengers: Endgame. All of those movies have earned over $1 billion at the box office, but Joker has the potential to reach the $1 billion milestone, too.


Joker was met with mostly positive reviews when it premiered at the Venice Film Festival, where it earned the festival’s top prize. However, the film’s Rotten Tomatoes score dropped down to 78% once it was screened again at the Toronto International Film Festival, and now it's reached 69%. Despite the mixed reviews from critics, the audience score remains fairly high.’s own Brandon Davis loved the film, calling it an “insane masterpiece.” You can read the full review here.

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.