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Joker lands record US debut of $93.5 million, hits $234 million globally


Story by Jack Foley

TODD Phillips’ Joker has enjoyed a whopping $93.5 million US launch to set a new opening record for the month of October.

The figure came in spite of heightened security at cinemas across the US in the wake of concerns raised about possible copycat acts of violence. Indeed, such was the concern surrounding the release of the pic from some quarters that patrons were reminded that face paint, masks and toy weapons weren’t allowed in cinemas, while cinemas were also checking IDs and informing guests that the film’s rating is a ‘hard R’, meaning that anyone under 17 must be accompanied by a parent or adult when buying a ticket.

The film stars Joaquin Phoenix as a mentally ill misfit turned homicidal maniac and Batman nemesis. But while set within the DC universe, it owes more in style and inspiration to the hard-hitting likes of Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver.

Overseas, the news was just as good. Joker raked in $140.5 million from more than 70 markets for a global start of $234 million – and it has yet to open in China.

Back in the US, Joker beat last year’s Venom, which started off with $80.3 million.

But on a wider scale, the film also enjoyed one of the best three-day debuts of all time for an R-rated title, as well as boasting the fifth-biggest weekend launch of 2019 to date. It also marks Warner Bros.’ biggest debut in two years.

While the weekend undoubtedly belonged to the Joker, there were still some other pieces of good news.

Animated pic Abominable placed second over the weekend with $12 million in its sophomore outing for a 10-day US total of $37.8 million.

Overseas, the DreamWorks Animation and Pearl Studios co-production opened in China to $11.2 million, while earning $12 million from other markets. The film’s foreign tally now stands at $38.5 million, while globally it has reached $76.3 million.

Julian Fellowes’ period drama Downton Abbey came in third with $8 million, bringing its US total to $73.6 million and $135.4 million globally.

Jennifer Lopez’s Hustlers hung onto fourth place, with $6.3 million for a US tally of $91.3 million and $110 million globally, while horror title It: Chapter Two rounded out the top five with another $5.4 million for a US haul of $202.5 million.