Joker is the most profitable comic book movie of all time. The movie is currently sitting at around $953 million globally and is expected to hit at least $957 million by this evening. In doing so, it will be 15.3x its $62.5 million production budget, which is pretty amazing to think about. When the movie hit theaters five weeks ago, controversy had consumed the conversation, threatening its success at the box office. However, it just went on to be free publicity for the project.
Looking at overall box office, the most profitable of the larger comic book movies are Venom with $854 million from a $90 million budget, Batman with $411 million from a $35 million budget, Deadpool with $783 million from an initial $58 million budget, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles earned $200 million from a $13.5 million budget, and The Mask was able to hit $351 million from a $23 million budget. Joker will at least have $956 million from its original budget of $62.5 million. It is believed that Joker will cross the $1 billion threshold in a few weeks.
Warner Bros. made a pretty big gamble on Joker. They let Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix steer the ship and take things away from the DCEU to make something gritty, dark, and based on reality, as opposed to the traditional superhero route. The box office success is even more remarkable considering that the movie has an R-rating. Joker is the highest grossing R-Rated movie of all-time now.
This already has Warner Bros. taking a look at their inventory and the future of their DC superhero movies. The DCEU was not the blockbuster success they were hoping for, but Wonder Woman and Aquaman have gone on to become huge moneymakers. With that said, they aren't even close to touching what Joker is doing in terms of gross.
As an overall look at Joker's box office success, it will be "the third-cheapest $900 million grosser of all time" after Bohemian Rhapsody, which earned $905 million on a $52 million budget and the original animated Lion King at $968 million from a $55 million budget. When it inevitably crosses the $1 billion mark in a few weeks, Joker will beat Jurassic Park to become the cheapest movie in history to do so. Warner Bros. definitely won big on this gamble.
Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix are excited by the reaction to Joker. Comic book fans were initially pretty skeptical about a new origin story for one of the most iconic villains of all time. Phillips and Phoenix took a more grounded approach and brought back an element of cinema that some say has been lacking in the current roster of blockbuster superhero movies. That's a topic for a brand-new conversation though. For now, Joker is proving to be a risk that has paid off multiple times over, both critically and monetarily. Forbes was the first to report on the record breaking news.