Who says that people no longer go to the movies? Once again, a major tentpole arrived in multiplexes across North America to monstrous box-office dollars. Arriving in 4.374 theatres, the Todd Phillips directed and Joaquin Phoenix starrer, The Joker, emerged as the largest domestic October opening at the weekend box-office. Overtaking last year’s Sony behemoth Venom (which opened at just over $80 million), the hard-R rated take on Batman’s arch-nemesis proved to have mass appeal across all-demos.
Opening with nearly $94 million dollars, the film succeeded in the face of growing controversy. Whereas the film’s early buzz started with it’s Golden Lion winning appearance at the Venice Film Festival in late August – early September, the Martin Scorsese inspired take on the Joker’s genesis during Reagan Era’s America, became placed within commentary about its depiction of mental health, white-male violence and commentary Todd Philips’ made about contemporary audience sensibilities about comedy.
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Needless to say, all of the Twitter buzz, pressing critical reception and debate about a filmmaker and actor’s responsibility to teach an audience or align with cultural sensibilities, meant very little for move goers. Since the trailer’s arrival in late Spring, The Joker was poised for a large reception and this weekend proved audiences’ interest in a movie that would challenge, provoke, reimagine and entertain was real and immediate. Reinforced by Best Actor Oscar buzz for Joaquin Phoenix’s return to mainstream fair, the future box-office and award take for the film looks very promising.
Not only did The Joker take over Venom as the number one domestic opening in October, but it was also a major global success with $234 million in box-office grosses. With these numbers, it is in the realm of box-office possibility that the Clown Prince of Crime becomes the biggest R-Rated comic-book inspired/adapted film of all time.
The following is this weekend’s Top 10 films courtesy of Box-Office Mojo.