Joker’s October-record $96m gets the last laugh: Box Office Report

What a performance.

WB’s ‘Joker is laughing all the way to the bank this weekend, after it opened to a record-breaking $96.2m. It’s a gross that already puts it $16m ahead of previous holder ‘Venom’ ($80m) from 2018, as well as in 5th spot for the biggest openings of the year so far, and in 1st place for the biggest R-rated start of 2019. ‘Joker’s mounting success was the highlight of what’s been a drab weekend however; a weekend down 17% from last year’s total.

How did the new releases get on?

Just the 1 new release, and what a release it was. ‘Joker’ had the 4th biggest R-rated opening of all time by Sunday night (alongside its raft of other achievements mentioned above), earning $96m to comfortably finish in the top spot. It continues the positive momentum of DC movies at the Box Office after the successes of ‘Aquaman’ and ‘Wonder Woman’, and also Warner Bros who, after a torrid start to 2019, have managed to release 2 $90m R-rated smashes in a month (think back to It Chapter Two).

How did they get it so right this time? What made ‘Joker’ tick for WB? Well, creating a definitive origin for one of the, if not the, most popular super-villain of all time definitely helps. Comic book fans and casuals alike have given legendary status to 2 of the most recent portrayals in Nicholson and Ledger (let’s forget about Leto), so audiences were always going to jump at the chance to see a new one, by an esteemed actor in Phoenix, take centre stage.

It helps that they had no choice, either – the promotion has been relentless. From WB’s marketing efforts to constant chatter and controversy within the media, ‘Joker’ has been the film to see since its Golden Lion win at the Venice Film Festival back in August. Its win, a 1st for a comic book movie, also helped class the film as different from the rest. Add to it a solid critical reception (B+ on Cinemascore), and ‘Joker’ was destined to open big.

Not just in the U.S. either, as ‘Joker’s $152.2m overseas opening marks another October-best. The film’s $248.2m global start trounces ‘Venom’s previous record of $207.4m, and marks the 45th biggest worldwide opening of all time. It was helped by $15m in the UK, $16m from South Korea, and $10m from Russia, with France and Germany to come this week.

Elsewhere, Judy Garland biopic ‘Judy’ earned an impressive $4.6m to draw ever closer to a $10m domestic total. Bollywood thriller ‘War’ snuck into the top 10 from just 305 cinemas, earning $1.6m to fend off fellow Indian-release ‘My People, My Country’ ($876k) and ‘The Lion King’ ($685k).

How did the others do?

As expected, Universal’s ‘Abominable’ brought in $12m, for a $38m running domestic total. Now lagging behind the all-too-similar ‘Smallfoot’ from last year at the same point in its run by $5m, it also suffered a heavy defeat on release in China, grossing a pitiful $11m in its 1st 6 days.

Other notables from the weekend

  • Alongside its many achievements, ‘Joker’ also had the biggest IMAX opening for an October release, earning $9m by Sunday night from IMAX screenings.
  • Its opening also marks the biggest for Warner Bros since ‘It’ back in September 2017 ($123m).
  • Last weekend’s winner ‘Abominable’ actually posted the lowest opening of any DreamWorks film for 13 years, since ‘Flushed Away’ ($18.8m) in 2006.
  • STX’s ‘Hustlers is now the 3rd biggest film in the studio’s domestic history, behind only ‘The Upside’ ($108.3m) and ‘Bad Moms’ ($113.3m).
  • It Chapter Two’ becomes only the 5th horror (after ‘It’, ‘I Am Legend’, ‘The Exorcist’, and ‘The Sixth Sense’) to break the $200m domestic barrier.
  • Toy Story 4 has officially become the biggest film of the franchise globally, with its $1.068bn edging out ‘Toy Story 3’s $1.067bn.


Rank Last Week Rank Film STUDIO Total U.S. Gross Weekend Gross Weekend drop JUMPCUT’s prediction Week number
1 New! Joker Warner Bros $96.2m $96.2m $87m 1
2 1 Abominable Universal $37.8m $11.9m -42.2% $12.8m 2
3 2 Downton Abbey Focus Features $73.6m $8m -44.3% $8m 3
4 3 Hustlers STX Entertainment $91.4m $6.4m -43.9% $7.9m 4
5 4 It Chapter Two Warner Bros $202.2m $5.3m -48.1% $5.2m 5
6 7 Judy LD Entertainment $9.1m $4.6m +57.7% $4.1m 2
7 5 Ad Astra Fox-Disney $43.3m $4.2m -58.1% $4.8m 3
8 6

Rambo: Last Blood

Lionsgate $39.9m $3.6m -58.1% $4.2m 3
9 New! War Yash Raj $1.6m $1.6m 1
10 8 Good Boys Universal $82m $0.89m -57.0% $1.2m 8