Weekend box office: Joker is laughing all the way to the bank

Batman helped establish the superhero genre

Batman helped establish the superhero genre

It's an impressive feat considering that people originally questioned the casting of Joaquin Phoenix as the Clown Prince of Crime and the fact that director Todd Phillips kept insisting that the movie is not connected to the Joker's comic book origins.

Debuting in 73 worldwide markets this weekend, "Joker" took in a phenomenal 140.5 million dollars for a global cume of 234 million dollars through Sunday, according to studio figures collected by measurement firm Comscore. Joker took in $93.5 million domestically to beat the old October box office record held by Venom at $80.25 million. The film opened in more than 70 worldwide markets this weekend, according to THR, and earned a total of $140.5 million, making its global total $234 million. "It: Chapter Two", another hit from Warner Bros. Does it mean that controversy sells, or that the controversy was overblown, or that America is racing toward moral depravity?

With waves of appreciative reviews doing the rounds, "Joker" has one more admirer. I think it mostly means that big superheroes and their villains sell.

"Joker" was the only new wide release this weekend, which is down from past year when both "Venom" and "A Star is Born" opened.

While "Joker" is bringing in approximately 64% of all grosses this weekend, several September releases are holding well as counterprogramming for audiences who want something lighter.

Even if we don't get a Joker sequel, Warner Bros. and DC have plenty to look forward to. Audiences gave the film a B+ CinemaScore this weekend. CEO Ann Sarnoff expressing concerns about the film's release.

Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix, is off to a superhero-sized start at the box office.

Warner Bros. has said that the movie is not "an endorsement of real-world violence of any kind".

CNET critic Richard Trenholm calls Joker an "intense, troubling movie" and notes that "it's hard to see the point being made when there's no heroic Batman representing the other side of the scarred coin". Some referenced the July 20, 2012, mass shooting that killed 12 and wounded 58 people in an Aurora, Colorado, theater showing "The Dark Knight Rises".

In third, Focus Features' Downton Abbey raked in another US$8 million, boosting North American ticket sales to a strong US$73 million.

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