Joker has topped the UK box office for six consecutive weeks, becoming the first film to achieve the feat since the James Cameron-directed Avatar in 2009, Screen Daily notes. Avatar ultimately spent eight consecutive weeks on top of the UK charts, and spent another two weeks on top for a total of 10 weeks. After grossing an additional £1.7 million over the weekend for a total of £54.3 million, Joker is now the fourth-highest grossing film of the year in the UK and the 30th highest grossing of all time in the territory. Worldwide, Joker is nearing $1 billion — making it the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time — and will join Aquaman, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises as the next billion-plus DC Comics-inspired movie.
Studio Warner Bros. gets a much-needed win with Joker: after The Shining sequel Doctor Sleep opened in third place over the weekend with an estimated $12 million, Deadline reports the film could lose around $20 million, should it ultimately finish its run with $100 million. Following poor performances from The Goldfinch and Motherless Brooklyn, Warner’s fall losses are made better by the strong performances of Joker and IT Chapter Two: the clown-centric films will win WB north of $600 million in profits after ancillaries, according to Deadline.
Made on a reported budget of $62.5 million, Joker also stands as the most profitable comic book movie of all time.
Warner Bros. executive Toby Emmerich previously told The Hollywood Reporter the Burbank studio never considered Joker dangerous despite a series of controversies that arose around the Todd Phillips-directed film, including accusations the film might spark real-life violence.
“A lot of the social media comments around the film were by people who hadn’t seen the film and didn’t know what it was,” Emmerich said. “We looked at the film really closely and did feel that it was a great film. That it was a piece of art. And we didn’t think it would inspire violence. We took it to Venice, where it won the Golden Lion. And we felt comfortable releasing the film.”
Cinematographer Lawrence Sher is hopeful the critical and financial success of Joker inspires studios to take chances on more “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 told the Go Creative Show podcast. “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.”