You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Joker’ Heads for October Record Opening of $90 Million in North America

Joaquin Phoenix’s “Joker” is dominating North American moviegoing and heading for a record $90 million opening weekend, early estimates showed Friday.

Warner Bros.’ R-rated thriller about a psychopathic criminal appears to be on track to top the October record for a launch weekend, set a year ago when Sony’s “Venom” debuted with $80.3 million. Warner Bros. has adhered to an $80 million estimate, even after “Joker” set a record for an October preview with $13.3 million, while Friday estimates from rivals came in significantly higher.

“Joker” is directed by Todd 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. Concerns have been raised about the violence-laden film glamorizing mass murder, and New York and Los Angeles police are increasing their presence around theaters screening the film this weekend.

One Southern California theater in the beachside suburb of Huntington Beach closed down for its last two preview showings of “Joker” after police determined that a credible threat had been received. The theater resumed showings Friday with police promising a presence throughout the weekend.

“Joker” won the Golden Lion, the Venice Film Festival’s highest prize, on Aug. 31, but the pic has divided film critics. While Phoenix’s performance has been lauded, the movie’s dark tone and over-the-top violence have generated negative responses. “Joker” currently has a 69% score from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Joker” has pulled in nearly $25 million in international previews and early showings on Wednesday and Thursday from 47 markets on Thursday, and is being launched in another 26 on Friday.

“Joker” broke the October presales record on the Fandango online ticketing site. The film comprised more than 60% of Fandango’s Friday online sales.

Universal’s second weekend of animated adventure “Abominable” will likely lead the rest of the pack at the domestic box office with about $11 million. The third frame of Focus’ “Downton Abbey” should wind up in third with about $8 million. STX’s fourth weekend of “Hustlers” and Warner’s fifth session of “It: Chapter Two” will be battling for fourth with Roadside Attractions’ and LD Entertainment’s Judy Garland biopic “Judy” in the $4 million to $6 million range.

More Film

  • The Day is Long and Dark

    Francisco Barreiro Cast in Upcoming Julio Hernández Cordón Project (EXCLUSIVE)

    Julio Hernández Cordón, one of Mexico’s most-awarded independent filmmakers over the last decade, has found the leading man for his next feature “The Day is Long and Dark (My Friends are Vampires),” in Fantastic Fest best actor winner Francisco Barreiro, star of Adrián García Bogliano’s “Here Comes the Devil.”. Barreiro’s casting was shared with Variety from Buenos [...]

  • Macabre

    Rio Fest’s Compact Edition Opens Amidst Sectorial Crisis

    RIO DE JANEIRO  — The 21st Rio Intl. Film Fest opens Monday Dec. 9t with the screening of Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women” in the Odeon landmark theater. The smaller than usual edition, which was almost cancelled due to the lack of municipal backing, reflects the crisis of Brazil’s film sector, involved in a battle with the administration [...]

  • Papa-YouTuber

    Peru’s ‘Papa YouTuber’ Goes Global (EXCLUSIVE)

    Argentine sales agency FilmSharks Int’l label The Remake Company has sold remake rights at Ventana Sur to Peruvian family comedy hit “Papa YouTuber” (“YouTuber Dad”) to Mexico’s Cinepolis and Italy’s Colorado Films, with several other territories pending. Advanced discussions are underway in Germany, with Spain, France and the U.S. also pending. “The U.S. deal will [...]

  • Elia Suleiman attends the screening of

    'Pleasure Is Extremely Political,' Palestinian Filmmaker Elia Suleiman Says

    In a freewheeling masterclass held at the Marrakech Film Festival on Thursday, director Elia Suleiman offered as concise a mission statement as can be, defining his guiding beliefs in four short words. “Pleasure is extremely political,” said the Palestinian director, whose films have approached the fraught nature of life in the occupied territories with a [...]

  • Panel-Ventana-Sur-2019-1

    Ventana Sur: Industry Luminaries Converge, Talk Women In Cinema

    BUENOS AIRES – Ventana Sur’s Opening Windows conference series welcomed an esteemed line-up of women in film to Buenos Aires’ UCA campus on Wednesday afternoon for a panel that sought to familiarize the audience with the enormous weight of breaking into a male-dominated industry throughout the years. Among the panelists was Argentine Producer Lita Stantic, [...]


    Eurimages Winning Project ‘Almamula’ Stands Out at Ventana Sur’s Proyecta

    Juan Sebastian Torales arrived at this year’s Ventana Sur Proyecta showcase for Latin American projects as one of the event’s most buzzed up debutants with his upcoming semi-autobiographical feature “Almamula.” In September, Torales and producer Pilar Peredo, from France’s Tu Vas Voir, pitched the project at San Sebastian’s Co-production Forum, where it won the Eurimages [...]

  • Leila Kilani's 'Joint Possession' Questions the

    Moroccan Director Leila Kilani on 'New Type of Hero' in 'Joint Possession'

    Moroccan director Leïla Kilani presented the rough cut of her second feature film, “Joint Possession,” in the post-production section of Marrakech Film Festival’s Atlas Workshops. She spoke to Variety about the film, which she describes as a “war film, inside a family.” Kilani’s debut feature “Sur la Planche” (“On the Edge”), about two women flirting [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content