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WIRE Buzz: Joker becomes first R-rated film to cross $1 billion; Star Wars invades Fortnite

By Jacob Oller
Joaquin Phoenix Joker

The R-rated supervillain gamble from Warner Bros. has already paid off, literally, thanks to Joker’s record-setting performance at the box office. But now Joaquin Phoenix’s first foray into comic adaptation will be breaking an impressive barrier: $1 billion.

According to Deadline, Joker crossed the $1B mark after entering into this box-office weekend with a worldwide take of about $998 million. Warner Bros. confirmed as much to SYFY WIRE. That makes the film from director Todd Phillips the first R-rated film ever to achieve that milestone.

The big B isn’t uncommon among superhero films: The Dark Knight Rises scored it for Warner Bros. back in 2012, when inflation made that a lot harder, while seemingly everything in the Disney/MCU library has surpassed or neared the mark. In fact, even the next-highest R-rated film in terms of box office is also a superhero film: Deadpool 2. But now that Joker has reached the peak scaled only sometimes by more mass-appealing PG-13 fare, its legacy as a success has an additional feather in its clown wig.

Next, if fans thought they could escape Star Wars this week by avoiding Disney+’s The Mandalorian and dodging the internet’s rekindled love of Greedo memes by playing video games, they were wrong. That’s because battle royale shooter Fortnite has introduced stormtroopers to its popular cartoon battleground.

Take a look:

Classic Star Wars aesthetics — the macrobinoculars, the John Williams score, the massive Imperial ship — mix with the silly icons of Fortnite to hype up a skin that definitely, definitely won’t make gamers miss every laser blast they shoot.

The cosmetic skin, transforming players into the faceless minions of the Empire, is available now on the game, which recently entered into its second chapter.

Finally, one of the only members of the MCU — Robert Downey Jr. — who's so far remained unconfirmed to appear in the comic juggernaut's upcoming animated Disney+ anthology, What If...?, has had his role in the show cemented by one of his own co-stars.

Jeff Goldblum, over the course of an interview with BuzzFeed, spoke about reprising his role as the Grandmaster (which he debuted in director Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok). He mentioned not only that he just recorded his dialogue for his What If...? episode, but that the episode will also feature Iron Man — voiced by Downey.

Check it out:

"I played the part again a couple of days ago," Goldblum said of his MCU role. "I went to the Disney studios and I recorded the Grandmaster's voice for an episode of a show that's gonna be on Disney+ that's called What If...? It's an animated version of all the characters we know and love from Marvel, and this episode included the Grandmaster and Iron Man, so Robert Downey will do a voice for that, and Korg. Taika Waititi had already recorded his voice for that, so yeah, for a couple hours I enjoyed doing that."

So even if Tony Stark is dearly departed from the MCU, the man inside the Iron Man will be back to give fans one last piece of Tony's snark when What If...? premieres in 2021.