While it’s not surprising when a new DC movie does huge business at the box office, the success of Warner Bros.’ Joker this weekend was still impressive. It’s the first of the studio’s recent movies to carry an R rating, and while the Joker is an iconic comic book character, this was a Batman-free movie with a very different tone to DC’s other films. Nevertheless, strong reviews and huge pre-release buzz helped the film smash the record for an October release in the US. [Update: It turns out Joker’s performance was even stronger than initially believed, with Variety reporting the movie actually generated $96 million in North America during its opening weekend.]
Joker made an estimated $93.5 million in its first three days, which beats the previous record-holder, last year’s Venom. As Box Office Mojo states, this puts Joker very close to the $93.8 million earned by Justice League in November 2017. The result is particularly impressive given Joker had a smaller production budget than many recent comic book movies; an estimated $55 million compared to Venom’s $100 million and Justice League’s enormous $300 million. Joker is also the fourth largest opening ever for an R-rated movie, and worldwide, the movie made more than $234 million so far.
Not surprisingly, Joker’s huge success crushed all other competition this weekend. Last week’s No. 1, the animated feature Abominable, dropped to second place, making an estimated $12 million, while Downton Abbey, Hustlers, It: Chapter 2, and Ad Astra also fell one place each. The acclaimed Judy Garland biopic Judy held its place at No.7 by expanding across 1,458 screens to make an additional $4.44 million.
The only other new entry in the box office Top 10 was the action thriller War, which was a huge success in its native India and made $1.5 million on 315 screens on its US debut. As for next week, it’s possible that Joker will retain its position at the top of the chart, but will face competition from the Will Smith sci-fi thriller Gemini Man and the new animated version of The Addams Family.
Top 10 Films in the US for the weekend of October 4 -September 6 (via Box Office Mojo):
- Joker $93,500,000
- Abominable $12,000,000
- Downton $8,000,000
- Hustlers $6,300,000
- It: Chapter Two $5,355,000
- Ad Astra $4,557,000
- Judy $4,445,635
- Rambo: Last Blood $3,550,000
- War $1,581,000
- Good Boys $900,000