Don’t be surprised if all the films are superhero films one day. Specifically, superhero films based on Marvel or DC. It is possible to turn any genre into a superhero movie.
Who needs original Westerns or capers or body swap comedies or thrillers or crime movies when you can spin them through comic book characters and make big money through products like Logan, Ant-Man, Shazam!, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Joker.
The last of these made the point by smashing the all-time box office record for October’s opening weekend. In North America, Joker sold an unprecedented 10.4 million tickets (gross: $93.5 million), beating the previous record-holder, Venom, by about 1.5 million.
There was also the best opening attendance for Joaquin Phoenix (beating Signs by only around 100,000 people) and Robert De Niro (easily) for the grim crime drama as the tale of supervillain roots. Nevertheless, for The Hangover Part II, it’s about 700,000 seats short of Todd Phillips’ highest.
As for the title character, of movies featuring the Clown Prince of Crime, Joker only placed third. His best is The Dark Knight, in which he’s played by Heath Ledger, with his second-best being Suicide Squad, in which Jared Leto portrays the iconic villain.
There is no correlation for the Joker-focused movies and not really having the Batman character at all (Joker may have a young Bruce Wayne but no Caped Crusader technically).
Here’s how Joker‘s domestic ticket sales compare to other live-action DC movies’ opening weekends (only top 20 ranked):
1. The Dark Knight (2008): 22.1 million
2. The Dark Knight Rises (2012): 20.7 million
3. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016): 19.3 million
4. Suicide Squad (2016): 15.7 million
5. Man of Steel (2013): 13.9 million
6. Batman Forever (1995): 12.1 million
7. Wonder Woman (2017): 11.5 million
8. Batman Returns (1992): 11 million
9. Joker (2019): 10.4 million
10. Justice League (2017): 10.2 million
11. Batman (1989): 10.2 million
12. Batman and Robin (1997): 9.3 million
13. Superman Returns (2006): 8 million
14. Batman Begins (2005): 7.6 million
15. Aquaman (2018): 7.5 million
16. Watchmen (2009): 7.4 million
17. Green Lantern (2011): 6.6 million
18. Shazam! (2019): 5.9 million
19. Superman II (1980): 5.1 million
20. Constantine (2005): 4.6 million
For all R-rated movie openings, Joker comes in ninth place, just behind Fifty Shades of Grey. Interestingly enough, it’s the third R-rated movie involving Bradley Cooper, who produced Joker, produced and stars in American Sniper (sixth place), and stars in Phillips’ The Hangover Part II (seventh place).
Joker fell short of fellow Warner Bros. clown-themed villain movie IT but drew a bigger crowd than that movie’s recent sequel, IT: Chapter Two. Deadpool still reigns as the best R-rated superhero movie.