Joaquin Phoenix and Joker director Todd Phillips are laughing their way to the bank. The DC comic book film launched to a record debut for October, making $96 million in North America at the box office, according to Variety. Joker took home an international total of $152.2 million, giving the film a worldwide debut of $248.2 million total.
The North American debut smashed the previous record set by Tom Hardy’s Venom film, which made $80 million in 2018. Phoenix’s performance has earned rave reviews and Oscar buzz, while the Joker film itself has received many strong reviews along with controversy for its portrayal of realistic violence.
Phoenix starred in the film as Arthur Fleck/The Joker alongside a cast that included Robert De Niro, Marc Maron, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, and Bill Camp. The film cost just $55 million to make, so it should turn a profit once once it finishes its run in theaters. The R-rated film is a major box office victory for Warner Bros. and DC, which have rebounded from the critical and commercial disappointments of Justice League and Suicide Squad.
Since those films, the DC/Warner Bros. comic book films have all been successful, with Jason Momoa’s Aquaman making over $1 billion at the box office and Zachary Levi’s Shazam! earning positive reviews and a solid box office performance with $364.5 million worldwide. Both films have sequels in development.
The success of Joker should give DC/Warner Bros. confidence in their upcoming films, as both Birds of Prey with Margot Robbie and Ewan McGregor, and The Batman with Robert Pattinson are both within the world of the Caped Crusader. Along with that, Wonder Woman 1984 comes out in June 2020 and follows up the first Wonder Woman, which was a critical and commercial success.
While no sequel is currently in development for Joker, it’s possible Phoenix and Phillips could be lured back to make another one after the success of the first film.