There is no surprise just how well Todd Phillips' Batman villain spinoff, Joker, did at the box office. Ticket buyers showed up in anticipation and curiosity on what the director of The Hangovertrilogy would bring to the iconic villain, last portrayed by Jared Leto in Suicide Squad. Of course, it was Heath Ledger's take that won the Oscar in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight.IsJoaquin Phoenix in the running for one as well?
Joker can already claim a few October victories: Its $39 million Friday beat the record set by 2018's Halloween, which started with $33 million. Then Jokerbested the all-time October weekend record $93.50 million set also last year byVenom $80.25 million, along with Venom'sThursday previews top standing $10 million by grossing $13.3 million.
Joker is the 77th film to open to $90 million or higher. Not one of them failed to reach at least $200 million and only 11 failed to reach $250 million, including It: Chapter Two which is not going to make it. Believe it or not, of the 206 filmsto gross over $200 million, only 17 have been rated R — a list that includes two Deadpools, two Its and a pair of Hangover s,directed by Joker's Todd Phillips .
Fresh Surprise: War, What Is It Good For? Well...
Photo by Yash Raj Films / courtesy Everett Collection
Two Asian films did very well in limited release. Siddharth Anand's War grossed $1.58 million in just 305 theaters, good enough to finish in the Top Ten. Then My People, My Country came really close, finishing 11th with $865,000 in just 70 theaters for the third highest per-theater-average in the Top Ten behind Joker and Pedro Almodovar's Pain and Glory which grossed $160,087 in four theaters. Compare those numbers to another notable limited release this week...
Photo by Fox Searchlight Pictures. All rights reserved. / courtesy Everett Collection
Not doing well at all in limited release is Fox Searchlight's Lucy in the Sky , which earned $55,000 in 37 theaters this weekend. Lucy's $1,486 per theater average is bad enough to make Fox Searchlight's worst ten PTAs of all-time. Currently 10th out of the nearly 190 films in their history if the estimates don't get worse, it's a list that includes the likes of this year's Tolkien; Lucia, Lucia; Miss March; Whiteboyz; Jean-Marc Vallee's Demolition; Richard Linklater's Fast Food Nation; The Art of Getting By; Wilson; and Alex Proyas' Garage Days
Last week's #1 family offering, Abominable, dropped 41.8% to second place this week with $12 million. With $37.8 million total after ten days, that puts it between 1998's Antz $35.6 million and 2012's Rise of the Guardians $38.4 million. Those films legged out to$90.7 and $103.4 million totals, respectively. Abominablewill instead close out similarly toThe Lego Ninjago Moviewith a final estimate between $60-65 million. That's well behind Smallfoot's $83 million last year. The film has only made an additional $10.3 million overseas so far which is not great for the $75 million production and is likely to become Universal's first red mark since Little in April.
As mentioned, It Chapter Two joined the ranks of the $200 million club this weekend with its $5m pick-up. In other pending milestone news, Hustlers has the 11th best total for a September release after 24 days, earning $6m this weekend, and is headed for somewhere around $105-110 million. Downton Abbey may be out of range to join the $100 million club, with $8 million this weekend, but it is primed to best the $83 million grossed by Brokeback Mountain to become Focus Features' all-time domestic grosser.Roadside's Judywith Renee Zellweger jumped from 461 theaters to 1,458, grossing $4.4 million. In less promising news, Fox's Ad Astra has just about hit the wall in North America with a $4 million weekend, and is limping its way to $50 million. The film would still need another $128 million to break even based on its most conservative cost estimates. Rambo: Last Blood is not doing much better, but also cost less. With $64 million worldwide, after a $3 million domestic gain this weekend, the film still needs around another $86 million to get into the black.
This Time Last Year: Venom's Big Wind-Turdlin' Debut!
Photo by Columbia / courtesy Everett Collection
Last year, October kicked off with the biggest top ten haul of all-time this month. Similarly, it also kicked off with a big comic book spinoff — albeit from Marvel — as Venom opened to the biggest October weekend of all time with $80.2 million.But hold on: Bradley Cooper's A Star is Born opened as well. Even though it finished second with a strong $42.9 million it would go on to outgross Venom: $215 million versus $213m. The Fathom event broadcast of the Met Opera Aida actually grossed enough on just Saturday night to finish tenth overall with $1.18 million.
On the Vine: A Family of Addams, A Sassy Siri, A Parasite & A Tale of Two Will Smiths
The best chance to unseat Joker next weekend rides with not one, but two Will Smiths in Ang Lee sci-fi actioner, Gemini Man. Meanwhile, United Artists does not appear to be expecting great notices for their animated version of The Addams Family. It has been 28 years since the last live-action version of the television theaters hit theaters.The Hangover writers and Bad Moms directors, Jon Lucas & Scott Moore, will try to pull off a wacky version of Spike Jonze's Her with the Adam Devine-starring Jexi. Otherwise, you'llfindBong Joon-Ho's Parasiteopening in limited release next week.
The Full Top 10:October 4—6
Joker 201969% — $93.50 million $93.50 million total
Abominable 201980% —$12.00 million $37.83 million totalDownton Abbey201985% — $8.00 million $73.62 million total
Hustlers 201988% — $6.30 million $91.32 million totalIt Chapter Two201963% — $5.35 million $202.20 million totalAd Astra201983% — $4.1554 million $43.66 million total
Judy 201983% — $4.44 million $8.90 million totalRambo: Last Blood201926%— $3.55 million $39.82 million total
War 201975% — $1.58 million $2.08 million totalGood Boys201979%— $900,000 $82.04 million total
Erik Childress can be heard each week evaluating box office on WGN Radio with Nick Digilio as well as on Business First AM with Angela Miles and his Movie Madness Podcast.
Joker was easily able to take the number one spot at the box office this weekend. The controversial movie debuted with a massive $93.5 million haul and set a record for the biggest October opening in box office history. Venom was the previous October record holder with $80 million, but that record has now been buried. The record breaking weekend comes after weeks of controversy and concern over glorifying violence. One screening of the movie was even shut down in California after a credible threat was reported. Globally, the Joker movie ended up with $234 million.
Abominable was able to take the second position this weekend after bringing in $12 million. The animated family movie has been in theaters for two weeks and has already brought in $76.3 million globally. Downton Abbey continues its box office success with $8 million, which was enough to earn the third spot. The continuation of the TV series has been a big hit since opening three weeks ago and has earned $135.4 million worldwide.
Hustler took the fourth spot this weekend after earning $6.3 million. The Jennifer Lopez-starring movie, which is based on a true story, has been captivating audiences since it opened four weeks ago. To date, the movie has brought in over $110 million globally. Andres Muschietti's IT Chapter Two took the fifth spot this weekend. The horror sequel was able to bring in an additional $5.3 million, which is definitely good. However, the sequel has not been earning as much as the original as of this writing.
Related: Joker Review: DC's Darkest Film and First Serious Oscar Contender
Ad Astra took the sixth spot this weekend after earning $4.5 million. Brad Pitt stars in the sci-fi thriller, which has earned $111.3 million since debuting three weeks ago. Judy debuted last weekend at number seven and remains there this weekend after bringing in $4.4 million. The Judy Garland biopic has been getting rave reviews from critics and will more than likely be an awards season contender when all is said and done.
Rambo: Last Blood continues to disappoint with $3.5 million this weekend, which was enough to take the eighth spot. Sylvester Stallone had high hopes for the sequel, especially since his Creed movies have done so well, but fans have not been connecting with it. Action thriller War made its debut this weekend and took the ninth position with $1.5 million. Finally, Good Boys took the tenth spot with $900 thousand. The comedy has been in the top ten since it debuted eight weeks ago. To date, the movie has made over $107 million.
It's been an interesting few weeks for Todd Phillips' Joker. Premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival last month, the movie took home the Golden Lion award, which is typically reserved for films that will be big players during awards season, like previous winners The Shape of Water, Roma, and Brokeback Mountain. The film was met most immediately with rave reviews, but critics who have seen it subsequently have been more critical. Meanwhile, controversy has followed director Todd Phillips around on the press circuit and Joaquin Phoenix even walked out of an interview. The Hollywood premiere of the film was quiet amid beefed-up security, and there has been a heavy police presence at Joker screenings all weekend.
Despite it all, however, Joker performed as comic-book movies are expected to perform at the box office, earning an eye-popping $93.5 million in its debut weekend, and around $240 million worldwide after posting $140 million overseas. The $93.5 million domestic opening is the best ever for director Todd Phillips, lead actor Joaquin Phoenix, and even Robert DeNiro. It's also the best October opening of all time. In the end, reviews averaged out to a solid 70 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and the film has also scored well with audiences B+ Cinemascore, in addition to a 92 percent audience score on the Tomatometer, although with fan-driven movies like this — especially those from DC — that audience meter can't always be trusted.
It's an interesting success story, to say the least. It comes from director Todd Phillips, best known for raunchy comedies like Old School and The Hangover, but it's based on the most popular comic-villain of all time, and yet it very much owes much of its look and feel to Martin Scorsese, in particular his King of Comedy. Joaquin Phoenix, meanwhile, is no stranger to big hits Gladiator, The Village, but in more recent years, he's more associated with high-brow, awards-worthy fare. Ironically, Joker may ultimately fall into that category despite being based on a comic-book character and earning comic-book movie numbers in fact, its debut puts it slightly head of Justice League's opening weekend and not too far behind the $103 million of Wonder Woman. Somehow, it also managed to do all of this on $55 million, the sort of mid-budget movie that we seldom see anymore.
Does this mean we'll see more gritty, R-rated character-driven comic-book movies? It's too early to tell, although the way Hollywood operates, don't rule out The Riddler starring Daniel Day Lewis and directed by Judd Apatow in 2022.
Beyond Joker, however, this weekend's box office doesn't have much to say for itself. Last week's number one film, Abominable, fell to number two, although it managed a decent hold falling only 42 percent and earning $12 million to bring its 10-day total to $37.8 million. Downton Abbey, in its third weekend, also continues to put up impressive numbers, earning $8 million to bring its total to $73 million.
Hustlers crossed the $90 million mark $91 million with $6.3 million in its fourth week. In its fifth week, IT: Chapter 2 added another $5 million to the cash register to bring it over $200 million $201 million. Brad Pitt's Ad Astra is fading in its third weekend, earning $4.5 million to bring its total to only $43 million on a budget well over that of Joker $80-$100 million.
Renee Zellweger's Judy is also doing very well after adding 1,000 theaters, adding $4.1 million to its total to bring its 10-day earnings to $8.6 million. It bested Rambo: First Blood, which came in eighth place with $3.55 million and$39.8 million overall.
Rounding out the top ten is the Hindu-language action film, War, which earned $1.6 million, and the Chinese seven-part anthology drama film My People, My Country, which earned $1 million.
Next weekend will see a little more variety in its release schedule as three new films try to cash in over the three-day holiday weekend, The Addams Family opens in 3800 theaters, Will Smith's Gemini Man opens in 3500 theaters, and the comedy Jexi starring Adam Devine opens in 2300 theaters.
Mark Hamill backs Todd Phillips' Joker movie. Hamill has played the Clown Prince of Crime for decades now and many fans hold him up as one of the best. The actor started out as the villain in 1992 on Batman: The Animated Series. Comic book fans were quick to get into Hamill's take on the character and he has returned to the role a number of times over the years. So, what did Hamill have to say about Joaquin Phoenix's portrayal of Joker?
There has been a ton of controversy surrounding Joker in the past few weeks. When the movie first premiered at the Venice Film Festival, it was hailed as a classic and won the coveted Golden Lion award. However, since it debuted in North America, the response has shifted. Mark Hamill had this to say about what Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix created together.
"The Joker movie opens today. The awesome Joaquin Phoenix, Todd Phillips & Scott Silver brilliantly reimagine the character as never seen before! 2 thumbs up from that old-school, comic book version... me."
Mark Hamill loved Joker, just like a lot of other fans. Critical reviews in North America have been mixed, to say the least. Paired with the violence controversy, it wasn't looking good for the movie at the box office this weekend, but it is already on its way to shattering the October record previously held by Sony's Venom movie, which hit theaters last year. Many critics have said that the storyline of the movie is meandering and that it takes a long time to get to the point.
It seems like Joker is doing better with people who are not fans of the comic book genre, though plenty of fans are digging what Todd Phillips has created. It's not going to be easy to take a character as legendary as the Clown Prince of Crime and reinvent him into something new. It was a bold move and Phillips knew that from the start, which is a gamble that seems to have paid off. We'll just have to wait and see how the movie does at the box office in the coming weeks and then reassess in a few years to see what the consensus is.
Related: Can Joker Break Venom's October Box Office Record?
There have been worries that Joker will inspire others to go out into the real world and commit acts of violence. The FBI has been monitoring online posts about the movie and have found a few threats. Luckily nothing has really happened, except for a theater in Huntington Beach, California getting shut down over a credible threat on Thursday evening. The theater opened the next day and resumed all screenings, including Joker. Regardless, Todd Phillips has created something that has sparked a lot of conversation, both good and bad, and that's a positive thing as a whole. You can check out Mark Hamill's Twitter review of Joker below.
The # JokerMovie opens today. The awesome Joaquin Phoenix, Todd Phillips & Scott Silver brilliantly reimagine the character as never seen before! 2 thumbs up from that old-school, comic book version... me.
Everyone has an opinion about “Joker,” and today, it’s Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Michael Moore. The outspoken director sounded off on the most controversial movie of the year via a Facebook post Saturday morning. Todd Phillips’ revisionist DC origin story, starring Joaquin Phoenix, has already collected $40 million for its opening day, and is on track to become the biggest October opener ever. Below, read Moore’s Facebook post, pasted and embedded.
“On Wednesday night I attended the New York Film Festival and witnessed a cinematic masterpiece, the film that last month won the top prize as the Best Film of the Venice International Film Festival. It's called ‘Joker’ — and all we Americans have heard about this movie is that we should fear it and stay away from it. We've been told it's violent and sick and morally corrupt — an incitement and celebration of murder. We've been told that police will be at every screening this weekend in case of ‘trouble.’ Our country is in deep despair, our constitution is in shreds, a rogue maniac from Queens has access to the nuclear codes — but for some reason, it's a movie we should be afraid of.
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“I would suggest the opposite: The greater danger to society may be if you DON'T go see this movie. Because the story it tells and the issues it raises are so profound, so necessary, that if you look away from the genius of this work of art, you will miss the gift of the mirror it is offering us. Yes, there's a disturbed clown in that mirror, but he's not alone — we're standing right there beside him.
“‘Joker’ is no superhero or supervillain or comic book movie. The film is set somewhere in the '70s or '80s in Gotham City – and the filmmakers make no attempt to disguise it for anything other than what it is: New York City, the headquarters of all evil: the rich who rule us, the banks and corporations for whom we serve, the media which feeds us a daily diet ‘news’ they think we should absorb. This past week, a week when a sitting President indicted himself because, in true Joker style, he was laughing himself silly at Mueller's and the Dems' inability to stop him, so he just quadrupled down and handed them everything they needed. But even then, after ten days of his flaunting his guilt, he was still sitting with his KFC grease-stained nuclear codes in the Oval Office, so he told ‘Captain Sketchy to fire up the helicopter, the sound of its blades revving up, meant only to alert the reporters to scurry outside for the daily ‘press conference’ — Trump walks outside into the deafening cacophony of the whirlybird and publicly and feloniously asks the Peoples Republic of China to interfere in our 2020 election by sending him dirt on the Bidens. He and his magic carpet of hair then walked away and, other than the citizen howls of ‘CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS?!,’ nothing happened. As ‘Joker’ opens this weekend, Joker, Jr. Is still still sitting at John F. Kennedy's desk in the Oval Office on the days he shows up to work, dreaming of his next conquest and debauchery.
“But this movie is not about Trump. It's about the America that gave us Trump — the America which feels no need to help the outcast, the destitute. The America where the filthy rich just get richer and filthier.
“Except in this story a discomfiting question is posed: What if one day the dispossessed decide to fight back? And I don't mean with a clipboard registering people to vote. People are worried this movie may be true oo violent for them. Really? Considering everything we're living through in real life? You allow your school to conduct ‘active shooter drills’ with your children, permanently, emotionally damaging them as we show these little ones that this is the life we've created for them. ‘Joker’ makes it clear we don't really want to get to the bottom of this, or to try to understand why innocent people turn in to Jokers after they can no longer keep it together. No one wants to ask why two smart boys skipped their 4th-hour AP French Philosophy class at Columbine High to slaughter 12 students and a teacher. Who would dare ask why the son of a vice-president of General Electric would go into Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT and blow the tiny bodies apart of 20 first-graders. Or why did 53% of White women vote for the presidential candidate who, on tape, reveled in his talent as a sexual predator?
“The fear and outcry over ‘Joker’ is a ruse. It's a distraction so that we don't look at the real violence tearing up our fellow human beings — 30 million Americans who don't have health insurance is an act of violence. Millions of abused women and children living in fear is an act of violence. Cramming 59 students like worthless sardines into classrooms in Detroit is an act of violence.
“As the news media stands by for the next mass shooting, you and your neighbors and co-workers have already been shot numerous times, shot straight through all of your hearts and hopes and dreams. Your pension is long gone. You're in debt for the next 30 years because you committed the crime of wanting an education. You have actually thought about not having children because you don't have the heart to bring them onto a dying planet where they are given a 20-year death-by-climate-change sentence at birth. The violence in ‘Joker’? Stop! Most of the violence in the movie is perpetrated on the Joker himself, a person in need of help, someone trying to survive on the margins of a greedy society. His crime is that he can't get help. His crime is that he is the butt of a joke played on HIM by the rich and famous. When the Joker decides he can no longer take it — yes, you will feel awful. Not because of the minimal blood on the screen, but because deep down, you were cheering him on – and if you're honest when that happens, you will thank this movie for connecting you to a new desire — not to run to the nearest exit to save your own ass but rather to stand and fight and focus your attention on the nonviolent power you hold in your hands every single day. Thank you Joaquin Phoenix, Todd Phillips, Warner Bros. and all who made this important movie for this important time. I loved this film's multiple homages to Taxi Driver, Network, The French Connection, Dog Day Afternoon. How long has it been since we've seen a movie aspire to the level of Stanley Kubrick? Go see this film. Take your teens. Take your resolve.”
Warner Bros presented a very eclectic but solidly awards-friendly slate at The Contenders London today, headed up by Todd Phillips' recent Venice Golden Lion winner Joker. “Most composers have a director they work with, but I — accidentally — had an actor,” laughed Joker composer Hildur Guðnadóttir. In this case, the actor was Joaquin Phoenix, who'd played Jesus Christ in one of Guðnadóttir's previous projects, Mary Magdalene. This time, though, the mercurial actor plays a very different kind of messiah. Taking the title role in Phillips' controversial new release, Phoenix stars as an embattled clown who accidentally becomes the face of a violent anarchist movement in early-80s Gotham City.
Speaking to Deadline's Andreas Wiseman, Guðnadóttir revealed that, initially, she'd been hired by Phillips simply to come back to him with some ideas rather than a full score. “Todd contacted me probably half a year before they started shooting,” she recalled. “He told me he was working on this film and asked if I was interested in reading the script, which I of course was — and I had quite a strong response to it. Todd asked if I was interested in writing some music just based on those feelings. He didn't really give me any instruction, as such, he was just curious to hear what I felt.”
Guðnadóttir explained that such a response is easier to form at such an early stage. “It's quite different when you're reading a script, because you're not influenced by the costumes, or the edits, or the choreography — it's a really good time to be able to just connect to the story on a kind of visceral level. It's very rare to have the opportunity to do that, because I'm normally hired quite late in the process and you're kind of just thrown in after the final cut. And then as I kind of started to find the music, it was almost like I was struck by lightning.”
Because she had been brought in so early, Guðnadóttir had the added bonus of seeing her work inform the film. “Joaquin was having a bit of a hard time finding his way into the character,” she recalled, “and finding his way into this transformation, so Todd said, 'Hey, I think it might be helpful just to listen to the music.' So he did, and he told me later that it really helped him to become the character. It was amazing to see him transform — such a beautiful interaction.”
Violeta Sofia/Deadline Hollywood Immediately after, the Contenders audience was treated to a sneak peak at Edward Norton's passion project Motherless Brooklyn, in which he stars as a gumshoe on the trail of inner-city corruption in 1950s New York. Speaking to Deadline's Tom Grater, double Oscar nominee Dick Pope — best known for his work with Mike Leigh — revealed that Norton had been invested in the film for a long time, ever since snapping up the rights to Jonathan Lethem's 1999 novel of the same name.
“Edward carried this film with him for 20 years,” said Pope. “He had a complete vision for it, from beginning to end. And, actually, that vision never wavered. When he first asked me to read the script, he sent me a look-book of visual ideas for the film and it was absolutely beautiful. You could have published it. It was beautiful, noirish and incredibly exciting, and challenging visually. And I must say a lot of the images within that book are on the screen.”
The film captures that flavor of classic noir, but Pope said that he'd taken care to make sure that seemed organic rather than stylized and synthetic. “Edward wanted the patina of old cinema, that rich and lush look, but without it looking like we'd used a special treatment,” he said. “So I shot with old lenses, which is exactly what I'd shot Mr Turner with. Old 40s and 50 lenses. Lenses that have flaws, aberrations in them. They're not quite right, and I found that worked really well, in terms of combating the modern with the old.”
BAFTA and Golden Globe-nominated composer Daniel Pemberton Yesterday, Molly's Game, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse joined the conversation to explain that he, too, had been experimental in terms of finding the right feel for the film. “The main protagonist is a guy called Lionel who's got Tourette's Syndrome,” he said. “The score is trying to capture the story from his perspective, and there's two elements to him. There's a very restless side to him — his mind is constantly ticking over — and then there are scenes where he's more focused and there's a serenity there. But one of the big things Edward and I also talked about trying to do was create a sense of the time period, and so the world of the film is steeped in jazz.”
Finally, in the absence of actor Michael B. Jordan, who was delayed by transport issues, Deadline's Mike Fleming gave an impassioned introduction to footage from the star's new film, Just Mercy, which Jordan also produced. Based on Bryan Stevenson's memoir of the same name,the film tells the true story of an activist lawyer who fights for justice on behalf of wrongfully convicted individuals.