If all the signs are right, Joker – Todd Phillips' brave story about Batman's enemy – will be a box office hit. By early screening, the movie is ready to do $ 155 million worldwide when it opens this weekend. It is a strong and possibly surprising feature for the film, which for weeks has been plagued by concerns that it will incite violence because of its source material. The film traces Joker's rise from mentally unstable lone to unbalanced shooter, and has been criticized for glorifying, intentionally or unintentionally, the kind of behavior exhibited by mass shooters.
Ticket buyers, however, don't seem bothered – and some box office analysts think the whole controversy really worked in favor of the movie. "In general, I think if a movie has a lot of buzz, great critical reviews become part of the conversation … I think this will only help the movie," says Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. It also helps that Joker isn't his typical bright and happy comic book, he said. “Remember, this is a very dark R-rated movie. If there is controversy surrounding a light family movie, this could be a problem, but we're talking about the Joker here. "
In the US, Joker is expected to earn just over $ 80 million, an impressive amount considering its $ 55 million budget and its R rating.
"If tracking reached $ 50 or $ 60 million, we would all be saying this is great for this kind of movie," says Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice Media. "But now the expectations are high."
If Joker makes more than $ 80.25 million, it will beat Venom's October domestic record, Warner Bros. & # 39; 2018 starring Tom Hardy, which was, like the Joker, an R-rated spin on comic book source material. But the Joker is unlikely to beat Venom's global record of $ 207.4 million.
As Robbins and Dergarabedian point out, Joker originally looked more like a prestigious play, an attempt to bring DC comics back into the awards space after Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy was released. However, a combination of praise on the festival circuit – including a big win at the prestigious Venice Film Festival – and non-stop chatter about the film's controversial plot gave the movie a dark hype. "We are in unfamiliar territory here," said Dergarabedian. "I don't know any other movie that has all the pieces in the puzzle in place."
While movies like Deadpool and Logan are somewhat comparable – unconventional R-rated comic films – the Joker is still a world away from these films, mainly because of its dark leadership and growing security warnings in the coming months. exhibitions. Some early viewers have expressed concerns which is very sympathetic to violent real-world loners and can inspire mass shooters in the mold of James Holmes, the shooter who killed 12 people and injured 70 more in 2012 during a movie screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado. Growing concerns forced law enforcement to tighten security at Joker displays; the NYPD, for example, is planning to park undercover cops in exhibitions; Similarly, the Los Angeles Police promised "High visibility" during views.
Meanwhile, the US Army sent a memo to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, about a potential threat discovered on the dark web. Other theaters, such as the Landmark chain, are also participating extra precautions forbidding people in masks, painted faces or costumes to attend sessions. The Aurora theater that Holmes attacked in 2012 chose not to air the Joker, while family members of the Aurora shooting victims wrote a letter to Warner Bros. asking the studio to be responsible for viewers' safety. The studio responded in a statement, noting its “long history of giving to victims of violence, including Aurora,” and adding that “neither the fictional character Joker nor the movie is an endorsement of any kind of real-world violence. It is not the intention of the movie, the filmmakers or the studio to keep this character as a hero. "