At long last, President Donald Trump finally saw “Joker.” According to Yahoo! News, a senior White House official confirmed to the outlet that he screened Todd Phillips’ revisionist DC origin story “for guests including ‘family, friends, and some staff.'” That same White House official confirmed that Trump indeed liked the movie.
Mr. Trump is a noted cinephile. Amid his raving tweetstorms, the president has made mention of loving “Citizen Kane,” “Gone With the Wind,” and “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” He has also starred on screens big and small, with an appearance in “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” and a throwaway cameo in the second season of “Sex and the City,” to name a few.
Trump has also previously been outspoken about controversial 2019 movies before, as indicated when Universal Pictures’ “The Hunt” got cancelled over the summer for its unwelcome portrayal of violence amid mass shootings in this country.
Here’s what he said about Hollywood at the time: “They're treating conservatives very unfairly. ... Hollywood is really terrible. You talk about racist — Hollywood is racist. What they're doing with the kind of movies they're putting out, it's actually very dangerous for our country. What Hollywood is doing is a tremendous disservice to our country.” Per “The Hunt,” he said, “The movie coming out is made in order to inflame and cause chaos. They create their own violence, and then try to blame others. They are the true racists, and are very bad for our country!”
Over the weekend, “Joker” cinematographer Lawrence Sher took the top prize at Poland’s Camerimage festival, securing his spot in the awards-season derby. Despite persistent backlash dating up to and throughout its release, “Joker” isn't going away anytime soon. It's almost redundant at this point to rehash the numerous takedowns levied upon the movie. It's a celebration of violence! It will incite incels! Horrid acts of cruelty are committed against women and other innocent people!
No matter, because the movie, having now crossed the $1 billion box-office mark, which is unheard of for an R-rated film, is here to stay.
For his deranged portrayal of Arthur Fleck, Joaquin Phoenix is a favorite to beat for the Best Actor Academy Award. And with Donald Trump’s support, this is surely no longer a movie any Academy voter can ignore.
A senior White House official confirmed to Yahoo News that Trump screened ‘Joker’ for guests including “family, friends, and some staff.”
The senior official said Trump liked the film https://t.co/w7KEGfQEl4 by @hunterw, @BrettRedacted pic.twitter.com/bQfnnViBoC
That sound you hear faintly in the distance? That’s the maniacal cackling of Joker, which has become so successful in its global theatrical run that it’s passing the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office today. And this doesn’t just give the movie bragging rights of entering the billion dollar club alongside fellow superhero movies like Avengers: Endgame, The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Incredibles 2, Iron Man 3, Captain America: Civil War, Aquaman, Spider-Man: Far From Home, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises. Joker also has the distinction of becoming the first R-rated movie to ever cross that threshold.
Joaquin Phoenix, director Todd Phillips, and the executives at Warner Bros. are probably doing a little jig of their own today, as Deadline reports that Joker will have pulled in more than one billion dollars by the end of the day. Their Martin Scorsese-inspired period drama about the origins of the Clown Prince of Crime has to be the least-expensive superhero blockbuster to cross the billion dollar mark. An impressive component of this news is the fact that Joker managed to make that much money worldwide without even playing in China, which is one of the world’s largest film markets and has often served as the location which was able to push many of its contemporaries over the hump.
On October 25, Joker became the highest-grossing R-rated movie in history at the worldwide box office, passing Deadpool 2. Not long afterward, in early November, it became the first R-rated title to cross $900 million globally. But now it’s entered into a steadily-growing but still relatively exclusive club with only 43 other members. It’s just the seventh movie in WB history to cross that billion dollar line.
Frankly, I’m a little shocked that this movie continues to perform this well. I realize the Joker is a pop culture icon and while I certainly appreciated Joaquin Phoenix’s amazing performance, I personally found Joker to be an exercise in miserablism, a two-plus hour stylistic pastiche that wanted to be provocative but didn’t quite have enough clarity of vision to be able to make a coherent statement by the time the credits rolled. But it’s also one of the rare movies these days that people felt like they needed to see in order to weigh in on the cultural conversation, so maybe I shouldn’t be this surprised. I suspect we’ll continue to talk about Joker well into awards season, as Joaquin seems like a lock for a Best Actor nomination for the upcoming Oscars.
Against all odds, Warner Bros. and Todd Phillips' R-rated Joker is about to join the billion dollar club at the worldwide box office. Its global grosses through Thursday stand at $999.1 million.
The subversive, R-rated superhero pic starring Joaquin Phoenix is also destined to generate profits of $600 million for Warners and partners Village Roadshow and Bron. The two partners each have a 25 percent stake in the film.
The movie's phenomenal run at the box office has exceeded all expectations, particularly in the U.S., where there were security concerns leading into the film's release. Domestically, it has grossed nearly $340 million, while it has cleared $820 million overseas.
Joker will be the fourth DC title to cross $1 billion, behind Aquaman $1.15 billion, The Dark Knight Rises $1.084 billion and The Dark Knight $1.005 billion, not adjusted for inflation.
And overall, it is becoming the 13th live-action comic book pic to collect $1 billion or more, even though it isn't billed as a traditional "superhero" movie. Marvel Studios/Disney titles command eight spots on the list that doesn't include Spider-Man: Far From Home, which was produced by Marvel for Sony.
Joker had already passed up Deadpool $783 million to become the top-grossing R-rated pic of all time, not adjusted for inflation. Deadpool 2's earnings were roughly $738 million before a PG-13 cut of the 2018 film brought the movie's total grosses to $785 million.
Jokerwill become the sixth Warners film to lay claim to the billion-dollar milestone. In addition to Aquaman and the two Dark Knight pics, the other titles are the final Harry Potter movie $1.34 billion and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey $1.02 billion, not adjusted for inflation. That number grows to seven if counting New Line's 2003 effort Lord of the Rings:The Return of the King$1.13 billion. New Line was a sister company at the time, prior to merging with Warner Bros. in 2008.
In terms of other DC titles in the post-Christopher Nolan era, Man of Steel topped out at $668 million globally, followed by Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice $873.6 million, Suicide Squad $746.8 million, Wonder Woman $821.8 million and Justice League $657.9 million.
Warner Bros/Village Roadshow/Bron Studios' Joker is dancing across the $1B global box office mark today, becoming the first R-rated movie ever to the milestone.
It is Warner Bros.’ 7th film to cross $1 billion behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 $1.34B, Aquaman $1.148B, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King $1.12B, Dark Knight Rises $1.08B, Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey $1.01B, and Dark Knight $1B. Among Warner Bros.-DC titles, Joker is the 4th to clear the billion mark. A few weeks ago, Joker flew past The Matrix Reloaded and Deadpool 2 as the highest grossing R-rated pic of all-time.
In a stunning turn, the Todd Phillips-directed origins story joins The Dark Knight and Pirates Of The Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest as films to reach such a figure without the benefit of a China release during their original runs. The global cume through Thursday is $999.1M global with $317M stateside through yesterday.
Joker may be a DC character, but he's been an absolute marvel since world premiering at the Venice Film Festival in late August. The Joaquin Phoenix-starrer was greeted by huzzahs on the Lido and went on to scoop the event's top prize Golden Lion.
From there, Joker played the Toronto and New York Film Festivals, among others, and began overseas rollout on October 2 with domestic going two days later. At open, the movie smashed October records domestically, internationally and globally, taking the mantle from last year's Venom. The overseas launch was $152.2M with a domestic opening record of $96.2M for $248.2M global.
Domestically, there had been early concern over theater safety given the films dark themes, though fortunately there were no major incidents. Also causing hand-wringing was that the movie could be frontloaded by fanboys and perhaps not perform like a superhero pic since it doesn't fit the genre to which we've become accustomed. Ultimately, Joker was so in the zeitgeist, aided in part by its mass coverage coming out of Venice, that audiences turned out and continued to do so the Bronx stairs that Arthur Fleck as Joker dances down have become a tourist attraction. Many say that Warner Bros. Studio marketing boss Blair Rich was very instrumental in believing and seeing how to sell Joker very early on before Phillips even shot a frame. High praise for Warner Domestic Distribution boss Jeff Goldstein for continually tapping the first weekend of October and expanding the marketplace, a place where Warners at point held the opening weekend record for the month with Gravity. Overall, Warner Bros. execs put their all in making Joker happen.
Holds have been astonishing and on October 25, Joker became the top-grossing R-rated movie ever worldwide, overtaking Deadpool. In early November, it became the first R-rated title to cross $900M global.
The fact that Joker has achieved such s without China is another example of just how global the box office can be. This has been a year during which a handful of titles, though released in the Middle Kingdom, would still have gotten to $1B without it - think: Avengers: Endgame, Toy Story 4 and The Lion King. Even Aladdin would have gotten this close sans China.
Joker is an original reinvention of the familiar mythology and a unique standalone story that introduces Phoenix as Fleck, a man struggling to find his way in Gotham's fractured society. A clown-for-hire by day, he aspires to be a stand-up comic at night, but finds the joke always seems to be on him. Caught in a cyclical existence between apathy and cruelty, Arthur makes one bad decision that brings about a chain reaction of escalating events.
The decision to world premiere a comic book at the Venice Film Festival was a bold risk by Warner Bros. Money-wise, it has certainly paid off see here for Deadline’s dive into potential profits from a few weeks ago, a number that will be well north of a half billion.
Next will be to see how Joker fares during awards season. Venice has increasingly become a key launchpad — three of the last five Best Picture Oscar winners began their career on the Lido — and Warner Bros has had good luck from there in the past. Phoenix seems poised for a Best Actor nomination, and, as Pete Hammond has reported, the movie is making an impact with Academy members.
From the outset, Todd Phillips was determined to not direct a Joker sequel. Phillips made it clear that he only directed the wildly successful film as a standalone feature, with no plans to continue the story of the Batman rogue. But following the massive box office success of Joker, which is expected to clear $1 billion worldwide by the end of the week, Phillips may be starting to change his thinking on coming back for a Joker sequel.
In an interview with The LA Times, Philips revealed that he’s now open to doing a sequel — but only under specific conditions:
“It couldn’t just be this wild and crazy movie about the ‘Clown Prince of Crime.’ It would have to have some thematic resonance in a similar way that this does. Because I think that’s ultimately why the movie connected, it’s what’s going on underneath. So many movies are about the spark, and this is about the powder. If you could capture that again in a real way, that would be interesting.”
The unspoken condition is, of course, the paycheck, which Warner Bros. is sure to raise with the record-setting box office success of Joker. And its profits won’t stop there: the dark crime film is on track to earn up to $464 million after “global theatrical, TV and home entertainment windows,” tying it with Avengers: Infinity War as most profitable comic book movie.
But this is a big change of heart for Phillips, who has repeatedly emphasized that Joker was a one-and-done situation. However the unexpected box office success seems to have gotten to the director and even his blockbuster-phobic star Joaquin Phoenix, who signed onto Joker under the condition that it would be a one-time outing. But Phoenix has recently warmed to the idea of continuing Arthur Fleck’s story, if the right script came around. But we probably can’t count on him facing off against Robert Pattinson’s Batman any time soon.
Sometime this week, probably Friday or Saturday, Joker will become the 44th movie ever to pass the billion-dollar mark at the box office, joining Avengers: Endgame #1 and, fittingly, The Dark Knight #43. Not bad for a film with a reported $62.5 million production budget, a mere fraction of what fellow billion-dollar grossers like Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides $379 million, Justice League $300 million, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens $259 million cost to make. Joker‘s overwhelming success can be attributed to Joaquin Phoenix’s Oscar-worthy performance, positive word-of-mouth, and that it’s about arguably the most famous comic book villain of all-time.
But there’s another reason Joker is doing so well: lack of competition.
Joker came out on October 4 - here are the big-budget movies that have been released since then: two expensive duds, Terminator: Dark Fate and Gemini Man; The Addams Family, which appeals to a different demographic; Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, which is running $300 million behind the total gross of the original Maleficent; the years-late Zombieland sequel, Double Tap; Doctor Sleep, with a first weekend total that the Hollywood Reporter savagely referred to as “dismal”; and the historic flop, Arctic Dogs. Joker has been able to clean up at the box office because, unless you go to your local arthouse theater please go to your local arthouse theater, there’s not much else to see.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way: No Time to Die, Wonder Woman 1984, and Sonic the Hedgehog were all originally scheduled to come out during November 2019 before being moved. “Since nothing of equal or greater value took their place, there was a huge hole in the overall marketplace,” Forbes reports. “Yes, in a skewed way, Wonder Woman 1984 moving from November 1, 2019, to June 5, 2020, is part of what helped Joker cross $1 billion. Ditto the lack of the 007 actioner or the Sonic adaptation.” If Joker had legitimate opposition, not Motherless Brooklyn, its week-to-week hold wouldn’t be as strong it made over $11 million during its sixth week of release, which is very good:
Wonder Woman 1984, No Time to Die, and Sonic the Hedgehog‘s delays may be good for those films and, thus, good for Warner Bros., MGM/Universal, and Paramount. But it resulted in a lack of “big” movies in November, with the marketplace essentially on hold between Joker on October 4 and Frozen II on November 22. Via
Nothing between a comic book movie and a Disney movie? What a very 2019 problem.