Moviegoers are about to give Joker even more reasons to dance like a goofball on those stairs in the Bronx. TheTodd 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.
David Ayer has taken to social media to deny a recent claim published by The Hollywood Reporter that alleges he cut Jared Leto’s screen time from the 2016 comic book tentpole “Suicide Squad” because he was unhappy with the Oscar winner’s performance as the Joker. “That is inaccurate information,” Ayer wrote in response to the THR article. “Not my words or actions.” IndieWire has reached out to Ayer’s representative for further comment.
The Hollywood Reporter story alleged that studio Warner Bros. was “not thrilled” with Leto’s on set antics while he was getting into character as the Joker. The actor infamously sent his co-stars gifts as his character, including a live rat to Margot Robbie and bullets to Will Smith. Leto also sent dead pigs to the “Suicide Squad” ensemble cast during rehearsal.
A “source with knowledge of the situation” told The Hollywood Reporter that Ayer “wasn't that pleased with the resulting performance.” The story makes it seem that Ayer’s dissatisfaction with Leto’s Joker led him to drastically reduce the character’s role in the movie’s theatrical release. Leto’s Joker only appears on screen in “Suicide Squad” for about 10 minutes of the movie’s 123-minute runtime despite being heavily featured in the movie’s marketing. Leto was billed as a main character and was honest in interviews that he shot a lot more footage than was used in the version of “Suicide Squad” seen in theaters.
Leto had no part in Warner Bros. moving forward with “Joker,” the standalone film starring Joaquin Phoenix in the title role that has became one of the year’s breakout blockbusters with over $700 million and counting at the worldwide box office. Leto is said to have been upset about Warner Bros. creating a Joker movie without him and reportedly even tried to kill “Joker” from happening.
Ayer is not involved in “The Suicide Squad,” which is being directed by “Guardians of the Galaxy” helmer James Gunn. While some of Ayer’s cast members such as Margot Robbie and Joel Kinnaman will be reprising their roles in Gunn’s sequel, Leto is not going to be back as the Joker. The next “Suicide Squad” film opens August 6, 2021.
That is inaccurate information. Not my words or actions. https://t.co/1jBRB4Sqvp
In early September, The Batman actor Robert Pattinson made a fairly ambiguous remark about Joaquin Phoenix’s upcoming film Joker that set the Internet on fire with speculation. “Will these new incarnations of Batman and the Joker meet up in a movie?” fans began asking themselves, and pretty much everyone else, on social media. Thankfully, Joker director Todd Phillips quickly tried to quell the flames by saying - in no uncertain terms - that Phoenix’s Joker and Pattinson’s Batman would not share the same screen.
Over a month later, Pattinson’s retraction and Phillips’ explanation have done little to calm the rumor mills of incessant fandom. So, while promoting his latest drama The Lighthouse, the actor was asked again about whether or not his Bruce Wayne would ever cross paths with Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck. In response to the question from Yahoo! News, Pattinson effectively tried to hammer the final nail in the coffin. “It’s kind of a different world,” he said of the Phillips film, which takes a wildly different approach to the character than Suicide Squad actor Jared Leto did in 2016.
What’s more, the actor admitted that he hadn’t even seen Joker yet. “I might watch it tonight!” he said. “Joaquin is the best - he’s awesome in everything.” Matt Reeves’ The Batman, which also stars Paul Dano, Zoe Kravitz, and Jeffrey Wright, is scheduled to debut in theaters on June 25th, 2021.
After three impressive weekends in a row at the box office, Joker is on track to become the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time. Serving as an origin story for the popular Batman villain, the movie is set to surpass $700 million in overall worldwide ticket sales by the end of the weekend. This will put Joker far past Logan's haul of $619 million, and crossing the $700 million mark will also top the performance of the 2017 horror movie It. Officially, that would make Joker the fourth highest-grossing R-rated movie ever, and if the movie manages to keep up its momentum, it may end up soon becoming the most successful R-rated movie ever.
In passing It, Joker will only have three more movies to topple for that coveted No. 1 spot. Next up would be The Matrix Reloaded, which pulled in $742 million in ticket sales in 2003. Ryan Reynolds holds the first and second spots on the list, as Deadpool drew $783 million in 2016 while its sequel Deadpool 2 pulled in $785 million just last year. Of course, it's worth noting Deadpool 2 had originally drawn $735 million at the global box office before its PG-13 re-release Once Upon a Deadpool brought that number up by another $50 million. As many of these sales are due to repeat viewing from fans all across the world, it would appear people just can't get enough of the Clown Prince of Crime.
Perhaps the controversy that had surrounded Joker prior to its release only helped with the movie's marketing, proving the old adage that any publicity is good publicity. Before the movie hit theaters, many Americans had called for a boycott, with many pleading for Warner Bros. to refrain from releasing it. The concern was that a movie which humanizes a villainous character would inspire a rash of copycat killings, prompting mass shootings from mentally ill Americans who idolize the Joker. Security had been increased at theaters showing the movie and even the U.S. military warned its troops about possible shootings at Joker screenings. Fortunately, these fears seem to have been exacerbated, as there were no violent incidents reported at any screening of the movie.
Related: Joker Is Warner Bros.' Biggest Box Office Hit of 2019 Worldwide
Joker is directed by Todd Phillips using a screenplay co-written with Scott Silver. It stars Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, a mentally ill man with big dreams of making it as a successful comedian, only to instead become Gotham City's most fearsome criminal. Also starring along with Phoenix are Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, and Brett Cullen. As a standalone story, the movie will have no connection whatsoever to the DCEU or to the upcoming superhero movie The Batman with Robert Pattinson in the titular role.
For its first two weeks in theaters, Joker had dominated theaters as the No. 1 movie in America. Courtesy of Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Joker has lost its spot at the top of the list, though its continued success has still placed it above the debut of the horror sequel Zombieland: Double Tap. If you haven't done so already, you can catch Joker in theaters everywhere. This news comes to us from Forbes.
We've heard before that Jared Leto felt alienated and upset by director Todd Phillip's Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix. Now comes word that the Suicide Squad actor actually tried to have the movie canceled, telling his reps and those in charge at Warner Bros., 'You've got to stop this.' As the movie enters its third weekend in theaters to breaking box office records, it's clear that his pleas went unanswered.
Jared Leto famously played Joker in the 2016 DC Comics adventure Suicide Squad. There was quite a lot of noise before the movie was released, with exaggerated stories of Leto's onset behavior. He apparently went method, sending his co-stars disgusting 'gifts', and acting like the Clown Prince of Crime wherever he went in public. The actor would later say most of that wasn't true. But he did expect a much larger role in the David Ayer directed outing, and was very upset to see his performance whittled down to nothing more than a glorified cameo.
It was reported last week that Jared Leto felt 'alienated and upset' when Warner Bros. announced a standalone movie for Joker that wasn't attached to anything previously seen in the DCEU. Which meant the studio would be going with another actor for the role. But it now appears that Leto was more than just a little upset. He was so frustrated by the project, he went out of his way to have the movie killed.
Related: Hugh Grant Thinks Movies Are Too Loud, Calling Joker Volume Unendurable
Several sources familiar with Jared Leto's behavior have come forward to speak about the Oscar-winner's attitude in regards to Joker. He reportedly complained to his CAA agents who also represent director Todd Phillips. He also asked his music manager Irving Azoff to call the leader of Warners parent company, but it's unclear if this meant Time Warner's Jeff Bewkes or AT&T's Randall Stephenson. Jared Leto was desperate to have Joker canceled.
At this time, sources inside Jared Leto's camp claim the actor never made any such request. Azoff is declining any comment, and it's alleged that he never put in the infamous call. Since the time Joker was announced, Jared Leto and Irving Azoff are no longer working together.
Previous reports indicate that Leto believed he was being strung along with promises of his own Joker standalone movie. But Todd Phillips' new version got the greenlight instead. It's believed that Warner Bros. moved forward with Phillips' version, giving him a very small budget, believing that he would eventually become disinterested and move on. That clearly didn't happen.
As the story goes, Warner Bros. wasn't exactly pleased with all the effort Jared Leto put into creating his Hot Topic version of the Joker, or his clown like antics behind the scenes. Apparently director David Ayer wasn't much of a fan, either, giving Leto only about 10 minutes of runtime in his final version of Suicide Squad. This came after Leto had been billed for months as a lead character. A source close to the situation says this.
"In his defense, it was never really his movie but his attempt to `invent' a place for himself in it backfired."
Jared Leto's reps say that the actor is still happily working with Warner Bros. at this time, and is even shooting a movie for them. He will appear in the Warner Bros. release Little Things from director John Lee Hancock and co-starring Rami Malek and Denzel Washington. Joker is however credited with ending Leto's relationship with CAA. He allegedly complained to his agents that they should have alerted him to this new Joker movie sooner, and fought harder for his version of the character. He argued that as an Oscar winner, he wasn't being treated properly. Other sources say that Leto had strained his relationship by this time, and had already run through four different agent teams at the company. The actor eventually left CAA for WME this past summer. Leto's current reps claim that Joker had nothing to do with the split.
As of now, it is looking like Jared Leto's days as Joker are finished. He will not reprise the role for James Gunn's upcoming quasi-sequel, sorta-reboot The Suicide Squad despite other cast members coming back. Joker does have a cameo in the Harley Quinn led Birds of Prey, which brings back Margot Robbie. But the cameo will conceal Joker's face, much like we saw with the Superman cameo in Shazam, and a different actor was brought in to play the role. This report comes from The Hollywood Reporter.
Joker may end up taking the #3 spot at on the box office charts this weekend, but it stayed at the top for two weeks before that, and it’s already raked in over $619.5 million worldwide. People can’t stop talking about Todd Phillips‘ grimy, twisted origin story for Batman’s arch nemesis, for better or worse, and the awards buzz for the DC Comics movie is high. But if Suicide Squad star Jared Leto had his way, no one would have seen the movie at all.
Reportedly, when news broke of a Joker origin story in the works from Todd Phillips at Warner Bros. Pictures, Jared Leto tried to stop the movie from getting made. Not only did he ask his agents at Creative Artists Agency CAA to stop the movie before it ever got off the ground his agents just so happened to represent Phillips too, but he even went so far as to ask his 30 Seconds to Mars music manager Irving Azoff at Full Stop Management to call the head of TimeWarner/Warner Media and pull the plug on the movie.
The Hollywood Reporter has this story from unnamed sources and no comment from any of the parties actually involved. But their sources indicated that Leto felt that his agents at CAA made the mistake of not telling him about the existence of this Joker origin movie before the news was announced. Leto also supposedly felt like Warner Bros. possibly placated him by supposedly developing a standalone movie for his version of the Joker which we heard about in the summer of 2018.
The reason for a lack of support for Leto’s version of the Joker appears to stem from two different issues. First of all, by the time the standalone Joker origin movie had been announced, Leto had already dispatched with four other teams of agents at CAA. That resulted in his then-current team not really feeling like going above and beyond to do as the actor requested. Leto’s music manager seemed to have felt the same way, because he never made the call that was requested. Since then, Leto has jumped ship to the William Morris Endeavor WME agency though apparently it had nothing to do with the Joker situation, and he also left Full Stop Management.
Furthermore, Warner Bros. wasn’t keen on doing much more with Jared Leto’s take on the Clown Prince of Crime. Not only was director David Ayer said to be displeased with Leto’s performance which would explain all of the cut footage that Leto said was even left out of the extended cut of the movie. Meanwhile, the studio also wasn’t happy with his highly publicized, in-character behavior during production that resulted in a live rat being sent to Margot Robbie, among other weird gifts he sent to the set of the movie.
Funnily enough, Warner Bros. didn’t think the Todd Phillips Joker movie was going to be a big deal. Because they were nervous about the movie’s dark nature and likely R-rating, the studios gave it a small budget with the hopes that it might actually discourage Phillips from sticking with the project. Even after the movie was greenlit, Warner Bros. ended up splitting the financing with Bron Studios and Village Roadshow. Unfortunately for them, that means they also have to split the profits now.
As for Jared Leto, it appears he may be done playing the Joker. The upcoming Birds of Prey movie with Margot Robbie reprising her Suicide Squad role as Harley Quinn does not have the actor back as Joker. The spin-off movie even has Harley Quinn supposedly breaking up with Joker and being very bitter about it. Plus, with Warner Bros. moving away from the DC Extended Universe established by Zack Snyder, and James Gunn stepping up to direct The Suicide Squad for 2021 without a role for Jared Leto, there doesn’t seem to be much room for his metal-grilled, Ed Hardy-esque take on the villain.