'Joker' becomes first R-rated movie to pass $1 billion

Ben ArnoldContributor
Joaquin Phoenix in Joker (Credit: Warner Bros)
Joaquin Phoenix in Joker (Credit: Warner Bros)

Joker has exceeded box office predictions and passed the $1 billion mark, making it the first R-rated movie to achieve the milestone. It’s also is the highest-grossing 15-rated title of all time in the UK box office having taken £56.1m to date.

Despite many analysts reckoning the movie might stall at around $950 million, the DC Comics origin story – with Joaquin Phoenix playing the tortured stand-up comedian who would become Batman's nemesis – has powered through.

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Its worldwide haul now stands at $1,016,599,593, according to Box Office Mojo, nearly £785 million.

Its record-breaking six-week stay at the top of the UK box office has finally ended this week with Paul Feig’s Last Christmas finally toppling the supervillain film from the number one spot. Joker still managed to rake in £1m over the last seven days, keeping it in the top three of the UK box office for another week.

Read more: Answers to key Joker questions

A handful of R-rated have come close to the one billion mark in recent years, notably Deadpool 2, with $785 million, and It with $700 million.

But Joker, helmed by Todd Philips, has left them in the dust.

The Matrix Reloaded also managed a huge $828 million in 2003, which accounting for inflation would actually tip it over to $1.1 billion, but there's still potential for Joker to hit that record too.

However, the haul may not mean record bonuses at Warner Bros this year, with the studio having suffered a string of eye-popping flops in recent months.

(Credit: Warner Bros)
(Credit: Warner Bros)

Thriller The Good Liar with Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen has made only $9 million worldwide, Ed Norton-directed crime drama Motherless Brooklyn has made $9.5 million, while the adaptation of Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch made $9.7 million.

Shining sequel Doctor Sleep has also failed to set the box office alight, making only $53 million worldwide, and already slowing.

According to Variety 'Joker is an undisputed victory with $1 billion in global ticket sales, but even those profit margins might not be enough to mop up all the red ink'.

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