“Joker” is hitting new heights at the box office, setting a record for the biggest October domestic opening in Hollywood history thanks to its whopping $93.5 million debut weekend.
Despite security concerns and its audience-limiting R rating, the Todd Phillips-directed origin story of Batman’s most iconic nemesis catapulted to the top of the box office in its opening weekend, beating the record for October ticket sales previously held by “Venom”, which took in $80 million domestically in its debut.
“Joker” also proved to be a hit internationally, with the Joaquin Phoenix-starring film bringing in an additional $140.5 million from overseas markets for a worldwide total of $234 million in its first weekend of release.
Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros.’ president of domestic distribution, told Variety that word of mouth and positive buzz fuelled interest in the film.
“People knew what the movie was and the noise in the background did not slow it down,” he explained. “It’s a thought-provoking film. We are enormously proud of Todd Phillips and the whole marketing team.”
According to Box Office Mojo, “Abominable” — last weekend’s top-grossing movie — slipped to second place, bringing in $12 million in its second week for a domestic total to date of $37.8 million.
“Downton Abbey” came in at number three with $8 million in its third week, with North American ticket sales totalling $73 million.
“Hustlers” followed in fourth place with $6.3 million, for a four-week domestic total of $91.3 million, while “It: Chapter Two,” scared up $5.4 million in its fifth week, propelling its domestic total to an impressive $202 million.