Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker was expected to do well over its opening weekend. However the film has surpassed all expectations and broken box office records. Despite security warnings and concerns over its violent theme, the R-rated film registered a record October opening, earning approximately $93.5 million from 4,7374 screens in the US and Canada. It broke the record of Venom, which opened with $80 million in October 2018. The film earned $140.5 million from 73 markets, bringing its global box office earns to $234 million. Warner Bros’ President of Domestic Distribution, Jeff Goldstein said, “This was a much larger result at the box office than we had ever anticipated globally. Putting records aside, we’re just thrilled that audiences are embracing the movie as strong as they are.”
The film, produced on a budget of $55 million, premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September, where it was honoured with the Golden Lion Award for Best Film. Directed and co-written by Todd Phillips, it has received positive to mixed reviews from critics, with a score of 58 percent on the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.
Joker follows the story of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), who lives in Gotham City with his mother, struggling with his mental health while trying to work as a clown and dreaming of becoming a stand-up comedian. Justin Chang, wrote in his review for the Los Angeles Times, that the film reverses “the moral logic of the origin story” of Batman’s arch-nemesis, and adds that “the class satire here feels calculating and opportunistic.” He said Joaquin “never achieves the full force of revelation” but also praised the actor’s performance saying, “there’s real force and feeling in this Joker and, at crucial moments, a raw vulnerability that’s genuinely upsetting to behold.” The film is expected to continue attracting audiences to theatres worldwide.