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Joker laughs its way to an October opening weekend record

By Matthew Jackson

Joker has lived up to major box office expectations to set a new October opening weekend record. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the R-rated origin story for the titular supervillain earned an impressive $93.5 million at the domestic box office this weekend, placing it more than $13 million ahead of last year's record-setting Venom to become the highest-opening October release of all time. 

Early box office projections released last month showed Joker potentially performing in the $90 million range, which would have been enough to easily place it ahead of Venom's $80.3 million, but the film seems to have outperformed even those high expectations. After weeks of both accolades and controversy aimed at director Todd Phillips and star Joaquin Phoenix's take on the DC Comics character, everyone seems to be very eager to just see the film for themselves. 

Joker cruised to an October record with its very first night at the box office, earning $13.3 million in Thursday screenings alone, then blowing up to nearly $40 million on Friday. By the end of the weekend, its $93.5 million total wasn't just the best October opening of all time, but one of the best R-rated openers of all time, finishing ahead of both It Chapter Two ($91 million) and Logan ($88) to earn the fourth-highest opening for an R-rated film ever, according to The Wrap.

Of course, it definitely helped that no other major wide releases launched in theaters this weekend, which meant that Joker was mostly going head-to-head with previously released films. The box office top five for the weekend is rounded out by the animated film Abominable ($12 million), Downton Abbey ($8 million), Hustlers ($6.3 million), and It Chapter Two ($5.4 million, good enough to take its domestic haul over the $200 million mark). 

Joker is also raking in the cash worldwide. The film opened in more than 70 international markets this weekend, according to THR, and earned a total of $140.5 million, making its global total $234 million. Now we get to see what kind of legs the film has as it continues its run amid a busy October that also includes upcoming genre releases like Gemini Man and Zombieland: Double Tap. For the moment, though, the box office belongs to The Clown Prince of Crime.