Joker is the origin tale of the eponymous Warner Bros. supervillain that has surprised movie lovers and critics everywhere with its enormous success at the box office, despite being an r-rated movie. The movie raked in an impressive $37 million from international theaters and $14 million in the US in its first weekend.
So far, the movie has amassed a whopping $934 million globally and is on its way to being the first r-rated movie to hit $1 billion. The fact that this movie wasn’t released in China makes it even more impressive, and it will join The Dark Knight as the first $1 billion movies to do so without a China release.
Joker gathered over $70 million in its first week (including the previous opening weekend figures) and would have to experience a 50% drop weekly, starting now, to make less than a billion. So far, it has only dropped 24% and 28% in foreign and North American markets, respectively, so there is a little chance of the movie crashing down to 50+% suddenly.
The release of Midway and Doctor Sleep may pose a challenge for Joker next weekend, but it is unlikely that they will push it over the 50% mark. Even subsequent releases like Charlie’s Angels and Ford v Ferrari are unlikely to do so.
Joker has held its own against several big-name movies so far, so a 40% drop seems far-fetched until towards the end of November when we will see Frozen 2 and Knives Out take out everyone’s favorite clown.
If there is a 40% drop during the next two weekends, and a 50% drop on the weekends after that, the earnings for just those weekends are enough to send Joker into the $999.5 million mark, and it can comfortably cruise to $1 billion with the Monday-Thursday receipts over the next number of weeks.
My expectation for this movie is that it will pass the $1 billion spot within 2 more weekends and that by November 17th, the film will be worth $1 billion. Even if the estimations fail and the movie falls more than is anticipated, it will still reach the $1 billion mark by November 24th, at the latest. And if it does better than my calculations, then Joker will be well into its $1 billion by Friday, the 14th.
Joker will join the ranks of The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises,and Aquaman as Warner Bros. movies that have passed the $1 billion mark. While there is little hope that it can pass The Dark Knight Rises’ cumulative gross of $1.081 billion, Joker is well on its way to pass The Dark Knight’s $1.004 billion figure (if everything goes smoothly), and take its place on the list as the 3rd Warner Bros. movie past $1 billion.
If Warner Bros. decides to edit the movie into a PG-13 version to get into the Chinese market, then Joker has a pretty good chance of passing The Dark Knight Rises and turning out to be the second-biggest DC movie from Warner Bros., ever.
It really won’t take much to convert Joker into a PG-13 movie for the Chinese audience. They only need to remove some gruesome parts from the 3 murder scenes in the film, reduce the bad language and swear words, and this movie will be suitable enough.
I’m not sure if there will be a China release yet, but with the award season coming up, Warner Bros. may be moved enough by all the hype around the movie to facilitate the release. Success at the Chinese box office will add a new buzz and energy to Joker’s already impressive performance, giving it an edge and endearing it to the Academy, hopefully.
But irrespective of the lack of a China release, Joker is already a hit that has helped to drastically tone down the awkward low performances from other 2019 ventures by Warner Bros. At this stage, Joker can do without a China release, because the profit margins are enormous, especially when you consider that it had a fairly low budget. Any additional income would be an icing on the cake, but the studio gets a small part of the profits. They also need an excellent marketing operation that could end up taking a lot of Warner’s share of the profits at any rate.
Keep an eye on this page as we bring you more updates on Joker’s steady climb to the $1 billion mark, as well as other news about Warner Bros.’s other comic book movies.