Fans of Joker can put on a happy face because the highly anticipated film has overtaken Venom to become October’s biggest box office opening ever.
Todd Phillips’ Joker managed to deliver the largest October domestic opening ever with an estimated $93.5 million, topping the previous record set by Venom last year ($80.25 million) by quite some way.
The controversial film is also the fourth-largest opening to date for an R-rated movie, falling short of the $100 million needed to have achieved that distinction (a feat that is currently only held by Deadpool, Deadpool 2, and It).
You can watch the trailer for Joker below:
As per Box Office Mojo, the attention of fans and critics alike will now turn to whether the film will be able to keep up such traction next week, after it also delivered an October record for preview grosses on Thursday night (October 3) with and impressive $13.3 million.
The Joaquin Phoenix-led origin story for Batman’s infamous arch-nemesis put an entirely different spin on previous depictions of the character, instead choosing to provide more of an insight into why he transformed into the villainous Joker.
Telling the story of Arthur Fleck (Phoenix), a failed stand-up comedian who is constantly battered and beaten down by society before he eventually unleashes havoc on Gotham City, the film takes on a first-of-its kind approach.
In simple terms, Joker chooses to focus on the backstory and intricacies of Gotham’s most infamous criminal mastermind by providing an origin story for a villain who – up until now – has not been given one.
In the lead up to the film’s release, concerns were rife that it could inspire real-life violence and copycat killings, prompting police and cinemas to increase security.
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) confirmed there would be a ‘high visibility’ of police presence in US cinemas in time for Joker‘s opening weekend, and warned cinema-goers to remain vigilant when going to see the highly anticipated film.
Critics slammed the film for glorifying violence, with Vanity Fair saying Joker could be seen as ‘irresponsible propaganda for the very men it pathologises,’ before suggesting the film could be seen as giving justification to mass shooters.
This came after families of the victims of the 2012 mass shooting in a cinema in Aurora – which saw the gunman dress up as the Joker and murder 12 people, injuring 70 more – wrote letters to Warner Bros. expressing concern about the film’s content.
The letters referenced the violence in the movie, while requesting the studio help fund gun violence intervention programmes, lobby for gun reform, and end contributions to political candidates who accept contributions from the National Rifle Association.
Others, however, argue that the movie is ‘absolutely not an endorsement of its fictional movement‘, but is instead a ‘mesmerising re-imagining of villainy’.
Joker is out in cinemas now.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).