However you feel about Todd Phillips’ “Joker,” one thing for sure is that financially speaking it has been a massive success and gone well past any of its early projections.
To date the film has earned $740 million worldwide after just 18 days, overtaking “The Matrix Reloaded” to become the third-highest R-rated film of all time behind only the two “Deadpool” films (which both pulled in around $785 million each). “Joker” is expected to surpass them by next weekend and close out somewhere around $900 million by the time it wraps its cinema run.
Now Variety reports that with its relatively modest $62.5 million budget (less than half of most blockbusters) and even with an admittedly large estimated $100 million spent on marketing and promotion, the film is already well past the $350 million or so it needs to break even.
In fact it’s looking like it will become one of the most profitable comic book films ever released and one of the biggest superhero films that Warner Bros. has ever released, the film also defying the genre’s habit of dropping off significantly after its first week as “Joker” has held quite strong since its debut.
In fact, the film is tipped to close out its theatrical, TV and home video run with around $460 million in profit – about as much as Marvel’s “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War” both did each. Both those films made more but also cost more as well.
Exhibitor Relations senior media analyst Jeff Bock says: “You can’t buy a comic-book adaptation for that price, yet Warner Bros. pulled it off with good old-fashioned storytelling. They took a risk and it paid off. That’s the bottom line here. ‘Joker’ has tapped into the zeitgeist of today and is running away with the spoils.”
The movie is being compared to “Deadpool” in that there was a superhero film on which the studio took a risk, spending just $58 million on the R-rated comedy and backing that with a very clever selective marketing campaign – the results paying off very well for the studio.
Bock also adds that the success of “Joker,” “Deadpool” and “Venom” have now shown that dark adult-focused comic book adaptations are not only a viable model but are also an area that Marvel Studios and Disney have been unwilling to tap into and so there’s plenty of room for competitors to exploit it.