'Joker' Will Likely Become the Highest-Grossing R-Rated Film of All Time
Moviegoers are about to give Joker even more reasons to dance like a goofball on those stairs in the Bronx. The Todd Phillips-directed movie starring Joaquin Phoenix as the beclowned bad guy is on the fast track to becoming the highest-grossing R-rated movie ever (not adjusted for inflation). This means it’ll likely surpass the current record-holder: Deadpool.
Who could’ve guessed that Joker would be such a box office juggernaut? There was always a good chance that the dark and violent movie would do well: it had a considerably lower budget than most superhero adjacent movies, and it also involved a popular character from the world of Batman. But I don’t think anyone saw this coming: if all goes according to plan, Joker will end up being the highest-grossing R-rated movie ever.
Globally, the Joker box office haul currently stands at $737.5 million, and that number will only increase. In fact, according to THR, Joker is likely headed towards $900 million globally – and it might even end up at $1 billion. The current R-rated record-holder is Deadpool, which took in a worldwide total of $783 million.
This is good news for Warner Bros., who have had more than a few flops this year, most notably The Goldfinch, a would-be prestige pic that might end up as one of the biggest bombs of the year. It’s also a good sign for WB’s DC-related movies. Warner’s DCEU was in a rough spot as the studio attempted to chase the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But now that WB and DC are trying a different approach, it’s paying off. For proof of this, look no further than the comparison between Joker and other recent DC movies. In three weeks, Joker has already made more than the entire worldwide run of Justice League.
All of this is also good news for audiences hungry for more R-rated superhero content. There was a brief period where the idea of R-rated superhero flicks seemed unthinkable. Then Deadpool ended up being a hit, and Logan earned rave reviews. Now Joker is about to smash records and probably earn its star an Oscar nom. It’s safe to assume studios will now be rushing to greenlight even more R-rated comic book adaptations.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that the R-rated superhero movies to come will be as successful as Joker. The movie has benefited greatly from festival hype, and hype in general. Even before the movie opened there was already a significant amount of controversy about Joker’s message, and the type of audiences the ultra-violent nihilistic film might appeal to. That’s the type of publicity money can’t buy, and it always draws a crowd. More often than not, though, the crowd evaporates after opening weekend. That’s not happening here. Joker continues to have a stronghold at the box office. It held fast at number 1 for three weeks in a row, and only just fell to number 2 over this most recent weekend.
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