That's another one in the record books for Joker. The movie has had one heck of a run at the box office since it opened in theaters earlier this month. A far better take than anyone truly expected. To that point, Joaquin Phoenix as the Clown Prince of Crime now stands above Ryan Reynolds as the Merc With a Mouth, as Joker has officially passed Deadpool 2 at the box office, making it the highest-grossing R-rated movie in history.
As of this writing, Joker has earned $258.6 million domestically and $526.9 million overseas (and counting). That gives it a current grand total of $785.5 million. That puts it narrowly above last year's Deadpool 2, which made $785 million. That, itself, was narrowly above the first Deadpool, which earned a record-breaking $782.6 million in 2016. Which, in part, gave other studios the confidence to green light R-rated comic book movies and other big blockbusters. In a way, different as the movies may be, there is probably no Joker without Deadpool.
It's also important to point out that a relatively large chunk of Deadpool 2's gross came from the PG-13, holiday-themed re-release, Once Upon a Deadpool. The re-edited version of the flick brought in just $6 million in North America, but did pretty well overseas, bringing in another $44 million. So, if one wants to look at this in terms of pure, R-rated gross, Deadpool 2 made $735 million in its original form, which would still make Deadpool the previous, highest-grossing R-rated release. Either way, Joker takes the cake no matter how one wants to slice it.
Joker has now set a new standard for what success means within the DC universe. Other movies such as Aquaman ($1.15 billion) and Wonder Woman ($821 million) have grossed more in terms of cold, hard box office dollars. But since Warner Bros. didn't have quite as much faith in director Todd Phillips' vision, they gave the movie a much smaller budget, reportedly in the $55 million range. That also meant a smaller marketing spend. Taking all of that into account, Joker is expected to turn nearly $500 million in profit, which is in the same ballpark as Marvel's Avengers: Endgame, which grossed $2.79 billion at the box office and now stands as the highest-grossing movie in history.
Love it or hate it (and the movie has proved to be divisive amongst critics, certainly), this experiment proved to be a colossal success. Even if a sequel doesn't happen, and Todd Phillips has said this was always envisioned as a standalone (but we'll see about that), Joker will undoubtedly pave the way for more out-of-the-box comic book flicks down the line. Be it in the DC universe, or elsewhere. Especially if it does go on to add a little Oscar gold to its growing list of accomplishments. This news was previously reported by Forbes.