Despite Controversy, Joker Has Last Laugh

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joker movie monday

Lots of folks were worried about Joker. Some theaters hired extra security. Others banned patrons from wearing costumes. And some wondered whether the movie, given its graphic depictions of violence in the context of social rage, should’ve been made at all.

No matter: Warner Bros.’ gritty origin story for the Clown Prince of Crime laughed all the way to the bank, earning an estimated $93.5 million in North America. That’s an October record, by the way: No film released during the calendar’s 10th month has earned as much. Joker also recorded the fourth most lucrative debut for an R-rated movie in history. Add in the film’s overseas receipts, and Joker earned a grin-worthy $234 million. Yep, Joker’s bottom line is just about as green as the guy’s hair.

Not every moviegoer cared to be bombarded with Joker’s bleak, brutal brand of storytelling, though. While its big feet couldn’t fill Joker’s clown shoes, Abominable finished No. 2 and iced another $12 million. Meanwhile, Downton Abbey plopped a completely proper $8-million sugar cube into its box-office tea. It has now sipped $73.6 million overall—with its pinkie finger delicately extended, naturally. And even though that was good only for third place, you still get the sense that Downton was looking down its nose at its competition: “Vulgarity is no substitute for wit,” as Lady Violet might say.

Speaking of which, Hustlers continues to perform well. The salacious Jennifer Lopez actioner landed in fourth place with $6.3 million, bringing its total gross to $91.3 million. With a couple more strong weekends, Hustlers could become the 21st movie this year to earn more than $100 million.

IT: Chapter Two, of course, blew past that milestone ages ago. In fact—thanks to the $5.4 million it earned this weekend—Chapter Two became the seventh flick to earn more than $200 million domestically. It closes out our top five and can take pride in featuring the countdown’s second creepiest clown.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

charitysplace 5 months ago
I saw The Joker and it left me with mixed feelings. It is certainly depressing in its depiction of Gotham's lack of morality as a culture, and the slow descent of the Joker into his natural psychopathic tendencies. I don't know that I agree it will incite violence -- only an already disturbed mind would find it provocative in that way, but that same disturbed mind might as easily glory in some other film. (Should we censor art to ensure no one abuses it? I don't know.) I do think Phoenix deserves an Oscar, however. That was an incredible performance.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Wonder if they made a movie based on Andersonville. Now that would be a disturbing movie.
-Emma Bibliophile
The Kenosha Kid 6 months ago
Emma, they actually did. Andersonville, a 1996 made-for-TV miniseries. I watched it when it first aired and haven't seen it since, but I remember it being good.

-- The Kenosha Kid
The Kenosha Kid 6 months ago
Movies branded as "dangerous" tend to be the ones we need the most. They usually reveal something about us that we'd prefer not to acknowledge.

-- The Kenosha Kid
The Mouse Of Non 6 months ago
I have decided that personally I will not be seeing Joker in theaters.

SPOILERS ABOUT IT BELOW:
I read a lot of different "nerd blogs" and if they are saying that Joker is edgy then it's real bad. When I read about that he strangles his Mom, that he shoots the dude on live TV, I said, "this isn't for me." The objectafication of women was a put down for me too, I might not ever watch the film because of that. I don't wanna watch something that is gonna have that popping up continuously. The plot of it seems good, but I don't think I wanna watch a movie about a man descending into madness.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Chuck Anziulewicz 6 months ago
No one ever said that art necessarily had to be pleasant or uplifting.
The Mouse Of Non 6 months ago
But should we watch or view something that isn't uplifting? I just think with all the content issues, and with the story not having anything beneficial to do with my personal growth, maybe I shouldn't watch it. In other comic book films at least you see the strive for the hero to do what is right, and fight against the "bad guys." In Joker (at least from what I've read about it) there is nothing that helps me in my life. No good examples what so ever. Now should I go spend time watching a film that shows realistic violence and the decent of a man into madness? I don't think so. I can see how some people might say it brings awareness to these issues, but I just don't think I can justify watching all the content concerns to see awareness to violence.

EDIT: I could be wrong about somethings here, but these are my thoughts about seeing the Joker essentially, I love his character as a villain, but I can't justify seeing a movie just about him.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Chuck Anziulewicz 5 months ago
DEAR MOUSE:

"Joker" was, for me, a deeply affecting film. It is never a pleasant or "enjoyable" film, but it does touch on some important contemporary issues, and a features one helluva performance by Joaquin Phoenix. It was a powerful movie, and I'm glad I saw it. 
The Mouse Of Non 5 months ago
DEAR CHUCK:

I'm glad you enjoyed it. But for me personally the performance and the issues it brings awareness to are not enough to overshadow the content concerns for me personally. 

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 5 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Please refrain from using the h word, Chuck. This is a Christian Minecraft server.
The Mouse Of Non 5 months ago
LOL FCG!!! It is def a Christian Minecraft Server...

Posted By A-Non-Mouse