Along with the North American results, the worldwide opening weekend totaled an impressive $234 million, outperforming expectations. Directed by Todd Phillips, “Joker” has been the subject of scrutiny in weeks leading up to its release over fears that the disturbing origin story of Batman’s infamous foe could inspire violence — a scenario had not materialized as of Sunday.
“Joker” generated the biggest 2019 opening for a Warner Bros. title in 39 markets including UK, Russia, Italy, Spain, Poland, UAE, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico and Australia. It was also the biggest October opening weekend in 21 markets including Spain, UAE, Brazil, Mexico and Australia and the best opening weekend in half a dozen markets including Holland, Italy, Japan, Korea and Chile.
“Joker” also became Warner’s top opening weekend for the European region in 2019. It launched as fourth highest opening weekend ever for a Warner film in Asia and was the studio’s biggest opening weekend in 2019 in Latin America.
South Korea, which opened on Wednesday, was the top performer with $16.3 million on 1,418 screens, ranking as the biggest opening weekend ever for a Warner Bros. film. Close behind was the UK, which followed with $14.8 million, Mexico with $13.1 million and Russia with $10 million.
“Joker” is directed by Phillips from a screenplay he wrote with Scott Silver about a failed stand-up comedian who becomes a crazed killer in Gotham City. Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Bill Camp and Marc Maron also star. “Joker” won the Golden Lion, the Venice Film Festival’s highest prize, on Aug. 31.
“Joker” will open in six more markets next week including France on Oct. 9 and Germany on Oct. 10. It has not yet been approved for release in China.
Two Chinese titles also performed impressively during the weekend with “My People, My Country” and “The Captain” both taking in slightly over $100 million as part of the Golden Week celebration in China.
“My People, My Country” is an anthology film consist of seven short stories directed by several different directors, which are based on seven moments since the founding of People’s Republic of China. “The Captain” in a thriller set on an airplane with its windscreen shattered 32,000 feet over Tibet.
Another China movie, “The Climbers,” also generated $30 million. The film, directed by Daniel Lee, is a mountain climbing action film starring Jackie Chan, Wu Jing and Zhang Ziyi.
Animated adventure “Abominable” took in $24 million from 46 markets, including $11.2 million in China through Pearl Studio, lifting its international total to $38.5 million. Universal is handling most international markets for “Abominable,” in addition to the domestic release. The film, centering on a Yeti befriending a Chinese girl, has also grossed $37.8 million in North America.
Disney-Fox’s “Ad Astra” pulled in $7.3 million from 47 markets to lift its international total to $67.7 million. The Brad Pitt space saga has brought in $111 million worldwide.
Paramount launched the Will Smith science-fiction adventure “Gemini Man” with $7 million in five markets, ahead of its Oct. 11 release in North America along with most international territories. The film opened in first place in France and Germany with $3 million each.