(Video by The Independent)
The box office debut of Joker, Todd Phillips’ latest film starring Joaquin Phoenix as one of modern history’s most famous comic-book supervillains, was no joke.
Setting a new high for the month of October, the Warner Bros. film raked in $93.5 million domestically and $140.5 million overseas over the weekend for a global start of $234 million. (That’s without China, where the movie is unlikely to be released because of its bleak, nihilistic themes.)
In the U.S., the R-rated origin pic sparked widespread security concerns in the days leading up to its release on Friday, prompting cinemas across the country to ramp up security the film’s opening weekend, including an increased police presence and ID checks (an R rating means that anyone under 17 must be accompanied by a parent or adult).
And some cinemas, such as AMC Theatres and Alamo Drafthouse, warned parents that Joker isn’t an ordinary Hollywood superhero movie.
Executives at Warners were keeping a low profile on Sunday in light of the security concerns, and didn’t offer up the usual box office comments.
Here are the records and highlights of Joker‘s debut, not adjusted for inflation.
Biggest October Domestic Opening of All Time
The previous best was Sony’s superhero pic Venom, which launched on the same weekend in 2018 with $80.3 million. The success of Venom — rated PG-13 — no doubt was a factor when Warner Bros. was dating Joker, which also scored a record opening day for the month of October ($39.7 million).
Biggest October International Opening of All Time
Venom was the previous champ with $127.2 million.
Joker exceeded all expectations internationally, including scoring the top bow of all time for a Warners pic in South Korea ($16.3 million). In the Asia region overall, the film boasted the fourth-biggest debut of all time for a Warners movie, including Japan ($7 million).
Joker scored the biggest October debut of all time in 21 markets across the globe, including Mexico ($13.1 million) — where it was also notched the second-biggest opening ever for a DC-related film behind Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — Australia ($6.6 million) and Brazil ($7.3 million). And in 39 markets, the movie delivered Warners its biggest opening of the year to date, including the U.K. ($14.8 million) and Russia ($10 million),
Biggest Imax October Opening
The large-format exhibitor generated $9 million in ticket sales.
Biggest Worldwide Launch of All Time for October
Joker skipped past Venom‘s $207.3 million global debut.
A Career-Best Start for Todd Phillips
The filmmaker’s previous biggest opening belonged to The Hangover Part II in 2011 ($85.9 million). In 2009, The Hangover debuted to $45 million, while the third Hangover installment launched to $41.7 million in 2013. War Dogs, Phillips’ last film prior to Joker, opened to a disappointing $14.7 million in 2016.
A Career-Best Start for Joaquin Phoenix
Phoenix’s previous biggest domestic debut belonged to M. Night Shymalan’s Signs in 2002 ($60.1 million).
A Career-Best Start for Co-Star Robert De Niro
De Niro’s previous biggest live-action debut was Meet the Fockers in 2004 ($46.1 million).
Fourth-Best Weekend Opening for an R-Rated Pic
Topping the list is Deadpool ($132.4 million), followed by Deadpool 2 ($125.5 million), It ($123.4 million) and then Joker. Next are 2003’s The Matrix Reloaded ($91.8 million) and It: Chapter Two, which debuted last month to $91.1 million.
Warner Bros.’ Biggest Domestic Opening in Two Years
In September 2017, It debuted to $123.4 million, followed by $93.8 million for Justice League in November of that year. Generally speaking, Warners has had a rough year so far, outside of Joker, It: Chapter Two and Annabelle Comes Home.
Widest October Release of All Time in North America
Joker rolled out in 4,374 theaters, edging Venom‘s 4,350 locations.
In pictures: Joker through the years, from Heath Ledger to Joaquin Phoenix
(Provided by USA Today)