Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow’s Joker is off to a strong start at the box office, earning $13.3 million at Thursday previews. The film has broken the October previews record previously held by Sony Pictures’ Venom, which debuted with $10 million at Thursday previews in October of 2018.
The Todd Phillips-directed movie is now playing in 4,374 theaters, the widest release ever for an October film. It could also possibly break the opening weekend record for an October debut, held by Venom with $80.3 million.
Internationally, the movie brought in $18.7 million on Thursday and is up to $24.6 million so far in 47 markets.
The film stars Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix in the title role, alongside Oscar winner Robert De Niro, and it is directed, produced and co-written by Oscar nominee Todd Phillips. The plot centers around the iconic arch nemesis and is an original, standalone story not seen before on the big screen. Phillips’ exploration of Arthur Fleck (Phoenix), a man disregarded by society, is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.
The film also stars Zazie Beetz (Deadpool 2), Bill Camp (Red Sparrow, Molly’s Game), Frances Conroy (American Horror Story, Castle Rock), Brett Cullen (42, Narcos), Glenn Fleshler (Billions, Barry), Douglas Hodge (Red Sparrow, Penny Dreadful), Marc Maron (Maron, Glow), Josh Pais (upcoming Motherless Brooklyn, Going in Style), and Shea Whigham (upcoming First Man, Kong: Skull Island).
Phillips (The Hangover trilogy) directed from a screenplay he co-wrote with writer Scott Silver (The Fighter), based on characters from DC Comics. The film was produced by Phillips and Bradley Cooper under their Joint Effort banner, and Emma Tillinger Koskoff. It is executive produced by Richard Baratta, Michael Uslan, Joseph Garner and Bruce Berman.
The MPA gave the film an R rating for “strong bloody violence, disturbing behavior, language and brief sexual images.”