Joker has seen its share of critical acclaim, as well as controversy, since its release earlier this month. The combination of the two has served the film well, as it has now passed $735 million at the worldwide box office. With similar continued ticket sales, the villain centered story has the potential to become the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time. Getting ready to surpass The Matrix Reloaded, the Warner Bros./DC drama is only behind Deadpool ($783.1m)and Deadpool 2 ($785m) for that top spot. If the film follows its expected trend, Joaquin Phoenix will undoubtedly stand above Ryan Reynolds when it leaves theaters.
Todd Phillips’s vision was certainly not an action-packed superhero movie. This only makes it more impressive that it has passed the likes of Logan, along with more mainstream, PG-13 comic books movies like Man of Steel and Justice League. Place yourself in the mindset before these cinematic universes all started. If told that a Scorsese-like character study would outperform the assembling of the Justice League, would you ever believe it?
Granted, the Joker is arguably the greatest comic book villain of all time. Without his name recognition, it is unlikely the film would be this successful. Another point to consider is the controversy surrounding the film’s depiction of mental health. People love a good dispute and it only drives curiosity; serving as a cost-effective marketing campaign.
Why Joker Is Important
Projects like this will almost certainly never reach the success of behemoths like the Marvel Cinematic Universe; but becoming one of, if not the single highest-grossing R-rated film of all time is nothing to disregard. Even more impressive is that this was achieved with a budget of only between $55 and $70 million. Joker has proven you do not need as much visual spectacle to have substance. Time will only tell where it finally lands amongst top-earning comic books and R-rated films.