Joker in ‘The Dark Knight’ wasn’t interested in money, he was interested in sending a message. But the new Joker is all about that sick cash. The Todd Phillips-directed film starring Joaquin Phoenix as that jeering jester has hauled in boffo box office returns. And a new projection predicts that the Joker profits are going to be similar to those of Avengers: Infinity War. Think of all the cigarettes and dance shoes Joker can buy with all that scratch!
According to Deadline, the dark, violent Todd Phillips movie about the rise of the Joker is on track to earn profits in the range of “$464 million after global theatrical, TV and home entertainment windows,”. It might even be more than that if the worldwide total goes beyond $900 million. That’s on track to tie with Infinity War, which earned a profit of half-billion dollars. But which also cost more. Joker‘s budget was much smaller – around $70 million.
Joker‘s earnings are also close to Black Panther, which claimed $476.8 million and blows fellow DC film Aquaman‘s $260.5 million out of the water. There were rumors that Warner Bros. intentionally gave Joker a low budget in an effort to dissuade Todd Phillips from making the movie. But if that’s true, the plan backfired – in Warner’s favor. Now the studio has a major hit on their hands and proof that they can go up against Marvel movies. There was a time when such a thought seemed impossible as the studio struggled to get their DCEU off the ground, with frequently ho-hum results.
If there’s a lesson to be learned from Joker, it’s this: give audiences something that feels new. I say “feels new” because Joker (a movie I liked, FYI) is not original. But rather a pastiche of things borrowed from Martin Scorsese and William Friedkin movies. But here, in our current cinematic landscape where all superhero-related movies are homogenized to fit into a rigid mold, anything that steps outside the line. However derivative it may be – will get attention. Can this success be repeated? I really don’t know. The novelty of seeing a dark, violent R-rated Batman-adjacent film might lose its luster if other filmmakers attempt to copy the formula. For now, though, people can’t seem to get enough of Joker.
Joker isn’t the last DC-related R-rated movie for Warners. Birds of Prey is said to be going for an R-rating. It’ll be interesting to see if that movie can find as big an audience when it opens February 7, 2020.