Joker had an impressive opening night at the box office on Thursday in spite of all the controversy. The movie grossed $13.3 million, breaking the previous record for an October preview and raising expectations even higher.
The Joker movie has been a big question mark for fans and culture critics in the last few weeks. On Thursday, we learned that that has not stopped the financial prospects for the Todd Phillips-directed drama. The $13.3 million earnings outdo last year's Venom, which held the record for the best opening night in October with a $10 million opening, according to a report by Deadline.
Joker's opening beat out comparable R-rated comic book-based titles, including Deadpool, which opened to $12.7 million in February of 2016, and Logan, which made $9.5 million in march of 2017. Just last month, the highly-anticipated IT Chapter Two opened to $10.5 million, proving that the Joker is the definitive clown prince of this fall.
Experts expected Joker to be a big earner this weekend. Before it opened on Thursday evening, exit polls showed it hitting between $10 million and $12 million. Meanwhile, the movie has reportedly pulled in $5.4 million overseas already, in areas like Korea.
All of this goes to show that critical and philosophical debate around the movie has not effected its earning potential. Joker has raised some eyebrows by putting the villain in the starring role of a major motion picture, effectively making him the "hero" of the story, in many ways. Critics have argued that this may not be the right time for such a movie, as it could function as a vindication for angry, disenfranchised social groups.
However, critical reception for Joker is turning up just as the box office numbers are. With more people seeing the movie in recent days, some have said that the movie had a more thoughtful message than it was given credit for.
Once again the joker controversy was blown way out of proportion.— R.N. Laing (@BluThunderBomb) October 4, 2019
The take away should have been to not treat people like shit and don't cut funding to mental health services.
"Other positive sentiment comes from the genuine look at mental illness with a traditionally villainous character as its center," read a review on RelishMix. "The movie looks and feels less like a superhero movie to some and more like an awards-season offering unlike anything they've seen before. But, for traditional comic-book/superhero genre fans, this looks like Logan, Deadpool and other avant-garde takes on their favorite characters and themes. These fans like the Marvel-vs.-DC discussion, as well as the trading of ideas related to how this genre continues to evolve."
Joker is in theaters everywhere now.