Joker might not have broken weekend domestic records for an R-rated movie, coming in behind Deadpool‘s $132 million, but it’s about to become the biggest R-rated film in history as it powers across the world to an expected $900 million global box office.
The film, which courted controversy from day one, has shown incredible legs as it has pulled in massive box offices each weekend since its opening. This weekend alone it made $107M worldwide, sending its overall total to $737.5M. That puts it dangerously close to Deadpool‘s global cume of $783 million. (Deadpool 2‘s $785 million doesn’t count because it earned that through the PG-13 re-release.) It surpassed It this weekend, which sat at $700 million, and looks to trump The Matrix Reloaded‘s $742.1 million this week. The film hasn’t even opened in China (and may not ever), the second-biggest market in the world. Despite that fact, analysts predict it will break $900 million by the end of its run, far outstripping any other R-rated film’s global box office.
Joker has had a perfect storm of praise, controversy, and quality to make it a massive hit. WB/DC did an incredible job marketing the film, pushing it out first to festivals (winning Venice) so it felt like an arthouse film. It then delivered strong reviews, especially for Phoenix’s performance, alongside of controversy over its messaging and possible ability to inspire people to violence. None of that occurred, but it gave the film repeated exposure and word of mouth. With the likely Oscar nods coming in and little R-rated competition landing for a while, it’s easy to see how Joker has pulled into this position.