The weekend box office numbers are in and Joker made even more money than we thought. The DC standalone brought in $96 million, which is a little more than the $93.5 million that estimates had pegged it at. Those extra dollars are a big deal though, as it not only passed Venom for the all-time October opening weekend record, but the Todd Philips-directed comic book flick has the pretty astounding distinction of bringing in more than Justice League did on its opening weekend back in 2017, which is truly difficult to believe.
Justice League had a famously messy production and wasn't received particularly well by critics, ultimately leading to a $93.8 million take on its opening weekend. The movie plummeted in the weeks that followed and finished with $229 million domestically and $657.9 million globally. While it remains to be seen if Joker can surpass either of those marks, $230 million domestic seems all but guaranteed. And, considering the movie also had a strong international debut, currently sitting at $247 million worldwide, its overall prospects are strong.
Intense debate helped fuel desire to see Joker at this weekend's Box Office. Critics were divided, with some praising it and others taking it down a peg for being derivative, amongst other things. The universal consensus seems to be that Joaquin Phoenix has turned in an Oscar-worthy performance. There were also concerns that the movie would incite violence, which led to beefed up security at theaters over the weekend. Justice League had no such buzz going for it. Instead, it had a different type of controversy. Zack Snyder departed as director, leading to Joss Whedon coming in to oversee massive reshoots. The final version of the team-up was a Frankenstein's monster of two different movies.
Another key point here is that Justice League had an inflated budget, given the massive scale and intense reshoots. While Warner Bros. has never confirmed the figure, it's been reported to be in the neighborhood of $300 million. Whereas Joker was made for an estimated $55 to $60 million. So, a far grittier, R-rated, dark movie with a fifth of the budget managed to gross more money on opening weekend than Warner Bros.' answer to The Avengers. That's a truly staggering accomplishment. It also could pave the way for Warner Bros., and other studios, to take more risks with comic book movies in the future.
Justice League served as a turning point for DC Films, as Warner Bros. overhauled its strategy in the wake of the disappointing reception. Aquaman, Shazam and now Joker have proved to be far more successful and have paved the way for a potentially bright future. Next year will see the release of Birds of Prey, which sees Margot Robbie returning as Harley Quinn, as well as Wonder Woman 1984, which will feature Gal Gadot back as Diana Prince. And who knows? Joker could even be taking home some statues at the Oscars, if things continue going well for this iteration of the Clown Prince of Crime. This news was previously reported by Forbes.