Controversial Joker Movie Sets Box Office Record, Director Responds To Backlash

Joker is headed for the record books.

54 Comments

Update: It's Monday, and the box office results were even better than expected for Joker. The movie pulled in $96 million in North America, topping the weekend charts and setting new records.

Warner Bros.' new comic book movie Joker is one of the most talked-about films of 2019, and it's finally arrived in theaters. It's expected to enjoy a massive opening at the box office around the world. [Update: New figures shared by Deadline on Friday suggest the movie made $13.3 million on Thursday night and is now on track to make $92 million domestically through its three-day opening. That's higher than the figure originally cited below and would make it the fourth-biggest R-rated movie opening ever, behind only Deadpool, Deadpool 2, and It.]

According to Deadline, Joker--which stars Joaquin Phoenix in the title role--is tracking to make $155 million worldwide for its opening frame. That would make it the second-best October release in the history of movies, only behind 2018's Venom ($207.4 million).

In the US and Canada alone, Joker is expected to make more than $80 million to surpass venom ($80.25 million) to set a new record for best domestic October opening in cinema history. A previous estimate had Joker making $90 million in the US/Canada for its opening.

Joker was produced on budget of only $55 million, which is significantly below the budgets of other comic book movies. That was by design, as director Todd Phillips pitched Joker as something completely different than the standard comic book movie fare.

Phillips originally pitched Joker as a movie that exists inside a new label of standalone, more character-focused films. If Joker is a commercial success, you can imagine Warner Bros. looking to make more, though nothing is confirmed at this stage.

"The original idea when I went to Warners was not just about one movie but a label, a side-label to DC where you can do these kind of character study, low-rent, low-budget movies where you get a filmmaker to come in and do some deep dive into a character," Phillips said.

The director added that Joker, and presumably the other movies that would come out of the new DC side-label, would not connect to the wider DC extended universe. That's why Phoenix's Joker is not expected to meet up with Robert Pattinson's Batman.

Joker's $55 million budget does not include marketing expenses. If you've existed in the real world or been on the internet, you have likely seen ads for Joker, suggesting the marketing spend on Joker has been not insignificant. Still, if Joker can make $155 million for its opening weekend that would presumably make it a commercially successful movie.

Joker has found itself in the middle of controversy, including concerns about real-world violence. Speaking at the New York Film Festival on Wednesday, director Todd Phillips said he continues to be surprised by the reaction to Joker. "To me, I thought, 'Isn't it a good thing to put real-world implications on violence? Isn’t it a good thing to take away the cartoon element of violence that we’ve become so immune to?'" Phillips said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Phillips said he doesn't agree with how some people are saying he was "irresponsible" to make Joker, a movie that some are saying may inspire real-world violence. In fact, Phillips said, "It seems actually very responsible to make it feel real and make it have weight and implication."

"I mean, it’s a complicated movie and I’ve said it before, I think it’s okay that it’s complicated," Phillips added. "But I didn’t imagine the level of discourse that it's sort of reached in the world, honestly. I think it’s interesting. I think it’s okay that it sparks conversations and that there are debates around it. My mantra's always been the film is the statement. It's great to talk about it, but it's much more helpful if you've seen it."

Adding on to that point, Phillips said a lot of the discussion surrounding Joker has come from people who haven't seen the movie. "There's been so much conversation around the movie by people who haven't seen the movie," he said.

Joker premieres on October 4. For more, check out GameSpot's Joker review, which awarded the film a 10/10 rating.

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Now Playing: The 20 Biggest Movies To Watch In Fall & Winter 2019

Disclosure: ViacomCBS is GameSpot's parent company

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Join the conversation
There are 54 comments about this story
54 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
  • 54 results
  • 1
  • 2
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for IcyBlaze_XZ
IcyBlaze_XZ

32

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Yeah there's not much of a "controversy" among the normal public. I think Gamespot knows this too that's why they disabled comments on their latest post about the Joker "controversy" because it includes a classic song that's been included in literally 100's of other mainstream movies, TV shows, and public events.

And their "source" for the controversy is tweets from nobodies on twitter.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for cards
cards

107

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

The movie is a hit. Even with all of the right-wing crazies spouting off their insane nonsense.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for moonco
Moonco

3847

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Edited By Moonco  Moderator

@cards: Your hate for the right must have you spending a fortune on milkshakes

4 • 
Avatar image for edwardnygma
EdwardNygma

5484

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 40

User Lists: 0

@moonco: LOL! This post wins the thread. :)

3 • 
Avatar image for dynamotnt
dynamotnt

403

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

@cards: Snowflakes melt when watching this movie because it's about a white dude. other then the crying left i've not seen a single political criticism.

5 • 
Avatar image for thelostscribe
Thelostscribe

1179

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

This is strange, it's a raw movie based on a fictional character. I hardly think that's irresponsible or dangerous.

That said, all the attention may make this movie even bigger than it was going to be.

3 • 
Avatar image for chubby170
Chubby170

1164

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 0

Umnnn its a movie. No different from anything else thats come out in the past 50 years with violence.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Stevo_the_gamer
Stevo_the_gamer

45591

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 47

User Lists: 1

Edited By Stevo_the_gamer  Moderator

As the top italicized sentence is being missed here, GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. You can disagree without being disagreeable. Keep it classy, or you will find yourself having to comment on a new site entirely.

3 • 
Avatar image for alastor529
alastor529

561

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I feel like we have entered some alternate universe or timeline after 2012

Growing up through the 90s I noticed it was always the christian conservatives who wanted to create a cancel culture and cancel out things that weren't PC.

Now days its the far left that want to create that culture. it blows my mind how it could come to this lmao

I mean hell even words like "snowflake" "cuck" "incel" used to be words that the right would use derogatory toward the left

now the left use those same words lmao

7 • 
Avatar image for dynamotnt
dynamotnt

403

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

@alastor529: 20 odd years ago most of em wouldda been strippers, praise social media.

2 • 
Avatar image for ProjektInsanity
ProjektInsanity

454

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@alastor529: spot on. “We love diversity!” (Except for anything that challenges our world view, in which case we whine for its destruction.) As you say, the right-wing wackos have been outpaced by their Leftist counterparts.

2 • 
Avatar image for thelostscribe
Thelostscribe

1179

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

@alastor529: As having grown up in the 90's as well, could you imagine what people would think of their kids watching Nickelodeon cartoons now? I think about that sometimes haha.

I like the way the way you worded that, some alternate universe or timeline after 2012.

2 • 
Avatar image for dragonsama
dragonsama

880

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I think this movie looks great and I can’t wait to see. Regardless I’m sure some incel losers might be inspired by it but as long as they stay in their parents basements then I don’t care.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for alastor529
alastor529

561

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@dragonsama: that's not gonna happen though, so why bring attention to it? your more likely to be that incel loser if you truly believe what those journalist are saying to smear the movie with fake outrage.

No mass shooter had ever commited crimes because they were inspried by a movie or video game, they did it because of , hate bullying and mental illness. even the dakr knight shooter never was inspired by the dark knight movie , it was a hoax plus how could he if the movie had just came out that night

3 • 
Avatar image for dragonsama
dragonsama

880

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@alastor529: so a couple of things, I’m not a guy , have a SO and live on my own.

Secondly I agree the movie by its self would not cause someone to go out and commit acts of violence. However someone who is already deranged may interpret why they see in this as sympathetic to them and commit violent acts. However the root cause would not be the movie but the fact they are deranged.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for aross2004
aross2004

6940

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 0

Edited By aross2004

I love how everything has to be viewed through a "left" or a "right" lens now, (because any kind of middle ground apparently doesn't exist any more).

I choose to believe that people are just generally ludicrous nowadays, and we all deserve everything we will get.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for tony56723
Tony56723

1334

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

@aross2004: It truly makes me sad that everyone treats every single scenario as an “us vs them” conflict now. It makes having a rational discussion about anything almost impossible.

5 • 
Avatar image for aross2004
aross2004

6940

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 0

Edited By aross2004

@tony56723: I'm afraid rationality no longer exists. The rational person is the crazy one now, in a world full of delusional people.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for tinyjotun
tinyjotun

110

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

This shouldn't even be controversy. The "right" are getting bent out of shape that people are just trying to warn the public. Remember Dark Knight Rises?

It's like, if something happens, and the police or FBI knew about it but didn't warn anyone, and then the public finds out they knew about it, they get screamed at for not warning the public. Now when the public gets warned, they get screamed at. Catch 22, darned if you do, danged if you don't.

But truth be told, the "left" are also bent out of shape over this movie, because it's a movie made that doesn't follow today's trends of political correctness in movies these days. It's a comic book movie based off the most notorious villain in DC history, this isn't a superhero movie. It's not based off real world violence, and if the "left" want all violence gone in movies, then why only bring this one up but not the 100s of others that came out this year, or plan to come out?

2 • 
Avatar image for edwardnygma
EdwardNygma

5484

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 40

User Lists: 0

Edited By EdwardNygma

@tinyjotun: Good question. I believe that because the left hates whites so much (especially white males), they want to tear down the movie because they feel it glorifies white males. Granted the movie is about a psychotic clown but at this point they don't care. It is the true racism that is going on and being suppressed message-wise in our society today.

4 • 
Avatar image for deactivated-5dd711115e664
deactivated-5dd711115e664

8956

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@edwardnygma: Yes. The left hates whites. That's the problem. Not the rapid increase of ignorance and bad takes and people who can't tell the difference between the internet and reality. Nope. It's racism against whites. I know because Tim Pool and The Quartering told me so.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for edwardnygma
EdwardNygma

5484

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 40

User Lists: 0

Edited By EdwardNygma

@ZIMdoom: You...….you can't be serious right? Sarcasm? There are examples of this racism literally every single day.

3 • 
Avatar image for deactivated-5dd711115e664
deactivated-5dd711115e664

8956

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@edwardnygma: I am absolutely serious. Giving other people more representation and power isn’t the same as taking power away from white people. To argue otherwise is nothing but entitlement and playing the victim at the expense of others who have historically been disenfranchised. I doubt I will convince you to change your mind in this forum, but one day you will grow up and see you’ve been conned to enrich someone else.

2 • 
Avatar image for edwardnygma
EdwardNygma

5484

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 40

User Lists: 0

Edited By EdwardNygma

@ZIMdoom: I am glad we agree that my brain is far beyond yours. Hopefully one day you can ameliorate your basic understanding and look at the inherent problems of the left and their ignorant racism towards whites. This is 2019 but they haven't moved beyond 1985 yet. I am glad we found some common agreement in the end. :)

2 • 
Avatar image for edwardnygma
EdwardNygma

5484

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 40

User Lists: 0

Edited By EdwardNygma

@ZIMdoom: You can always tell when you have outwitted a liberal because they accuse you of racism when that is what they are guilty of, especially against white people. LOL. Checkmate.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for deactivated-5dd711115e664
deactivated-5dd711115e664

8956

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@edwardnygma: yes, that is exactly what has happened. I must bow down before you superior brain and it’s infallible belief that *checks notes* the entirety of the political left is racist against white people and that’s the only logical reason a small handful of people are complaining about the joker movie.

Seriously, you have presented such incredibly intelligent and well thought out arguments, back by so much factual data, that I don’t know what I could have been thinking disagreeing with you. Must have been my self-hating white racism getting the better or me.

Yep. Makes perfect sense.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for chubby170
Chubby170

1164

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 0

Edited By Chubby170

@cards: And he isnt. Only Liberals think that simply because they dont like him.

4 • 
Avatar image for cards
cards

107

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Edited By cards

@chubby170: Trump is a un-American racist. A crook and fascist. Only right-wingers think that he's isn't racist because they're racist. They agree with his racism.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for chubby170
Chubby170

1164

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 0

Edited By Chubby170

@cards: Sure, if you thinking fighting illegal immigration is unAmerican. Hes not racist nor none of the above. But the media would have you think that way based on their political agenda.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for deactivated-5dd711115e664
deactivated-5dd711115e664

8956

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@cards: I’m not sure what this has to do with anything. My previous comment about racism was directed to the guy claiming a small handful of people are criticizing the joker, not because of the supposed plot being controversial but because the entirety of the left hates white people and are racist against white people and so something something joker.

2 • 
Avatar image for deactivated-5dd711115e664
deactivated-5dd711115e664

8956

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I honestly believe this movie and director have gotten undeserved, unwarranted flack. However, I also honestly believe this movie will not do that well after opening weekend because these opening estimates are heavily inflated by all the conservatives and angry incel reactionaries who want to prove the left wrong. I see no evidence that people at large care about this movie at all. Only the die hard politically brainwashed on both sides seem to be talking about it. But hey, it's worked and gotten the movie far more controversy and attention than it would get otherwise. Any publicity is good publicity I guess. Speaking as someone who thinks Phoenix is an amazing talent, and as someone who has loved comics for decades...I don't care about his movie at all. But I'm also biased because I don't like any comic movie that strays too far from the source material.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for alastor529
alastor529

561

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@ZIMdoom: but in this case its the angry incel leftist reactionaries and that's the trend these days and its incredibly ironic considering what the left USED to fight against in media.

Growing up through the 90s I noticed it was always the christian conservatives who wanted to create a cancel culture and cancel out things that weren't PC.
Now days its the far left that want to create that culture. it blows my mind how it could come to this lmao

I mean hell even words like "snowflake" "cuck" "incel" used to be words that the right would use derogatory toward the left
now the left use those same words lmao

3 • 
Avatar image for deactivated-5dd711115e664
deactivated-5dd711115e664

8956

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@alastor529: I actually disagree with this highly. The number of angry leftists I’ve seen complain about this movie is microscopic compared to the number of people who are angry at the small handful of angry leftists. I also don’t believe cancel culture is a thing at all. It is actually extremely rare for anyone to actually get truly cancelled and those that do usually deserved it.

What I see happening is the left hasn’t changed. They are how they always are. What has changed is the reactionary right is profiting highly on social media and YouTube by drumming up fake outrage and fabricated victimhood and entitlement. Sorry, but compare the number of anti-joker content to anti-Brie Larson or anti-SJW content and it’s not even close. Which tells me much of the pro-joker anti-SJW outrage is completely fake and manufactured and people who believe it, such as yourself, are being manipulated.

Even if I’m wrong, I at least understand the idea that someone may be offended by the supposed story of joker. I get that someone may not like it and complain and not see the movie. I don’t agree, but that logic makes sense to me. What makes no sense to me is this increasing trend of supporting something solely to piss-off or spite someone else. I just don’t see any normal logical sense in that type of reasoning but I do see how certain groups/people are really cashing in on it.

But all that aside, the reviews have been strong, Phoenix is always a great actor and the movie may be great. I just don’t see anyone who truly cares about it in a genuine way. It strikes me as an art house movie which the people who are angrily defending the movie would typically avoid if not for the sense that they can piss off a perceived enemy by going. And that’s not good regardless of the quality of the movie. Movies are not sustainable if audiences are mostly going out of spite and a sense of shared victimhood. It’s all just a scam and the culture warriors aren’t major players...just pawns who don’t see they are being used.

2 • 
Avatar image for Elranzer
Elranzer

1163

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

The fake controversy must not have been included in the marketing budget.

Since that’s all the “controversy” ever was... marketing.

I wonder how much WB paid those LA cops.

2 • 
Avatar image for inkman66
inkman66

599

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Just another case of liberals fear of personal responsibility and their never ending quest to blame something .... anything .....for an individual’s actions.

7 • 
Avatar image for alastor529
alastor529

561

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@inkman66: yup , just like how that shaven head chick at that school in florida that got shot up admitted to being one of the many who bullied the shooter but she wants to place the blame on the guns instead of the real cause of these mass shootings.

4 • 
Avatar image for cards
cards

107

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Edited By cards

@alastor529: Certain guns are the problem. Not the only problem. The losers are the ones that have to own AR-15. The losers are the ones that have to carry one around with them everywhere they go, or they cry like little babies.

I one gun and never had to take anywhere with me. Look don't be some crackpot trump supporter and folks might not laugh at you.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for chubby170
Chubby170

1164

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 0

Edited By Chubby170

@cards: An AR15 is no different from other rifles. The weapon isnt the problem, its the person with intent to harm that is.

And what does the President have to do with anything? And whats wrong with supporting him? He is the President.. Strange mentality..

3 • 
Avatar image for cards
cards

107

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@chubby170: No he is not. Trump is un-American and not legitimate. No excuse not to know that trump is a crook, fascist, and un-American. The vast number of these right-wing terrorist murdering Americans are in their 20s. Kind of like Manson when he would corrupt young people. I would say on a smaller scale.

AR15 and people are the problem. Back in the day if any person went to order something like that the gun shop would inform the FBI and that person would be checked out. Only thugs and crooks would want something like that. A person that wants to have assault gun that holds as many bullets, shoots as many in seconds, and does as much damage to many people. I have been alive for many years.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for chubby170
Chubby170

1164

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 0

@cards: Well, I disagree completely. Hes certainly American, has done more for Americans than past presidents and he is certainly legitimate.

Also, you seem to really not know anything about an AR15. They only shoot as fast as you pull the trigger, like any other gun.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for PETERAKO
PETERAKO

2240

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

There is no controversy. When triggered mainstream media asswipes are bitching about something, it is a nontroversy.

7 • 
  • 54 results
  • 1
  • 2