Speed Reads

send in the clowns

Joker scores best opening weekend ever for an October release

Joker put on a happy face this weekend with a record-shattering debut.

The dark origin story from Warner Bros. and DC Films took in $93.5 million in its debut, the biggest opening weekend ever for a film released in October, Variety reports. The previous record-holder was 2018's Venom, Sony's standalone film about the titular Spider-Man villain that opened to $80.2 million, meaning this is the second year in a row that the October box office record has been broken by a film centered around a comic book antagonist.

Clearly, the controversy surrounding Joker didn't set it back. The film has sparked criticism in recent weeks over its sympathetic depiction of a loner who lashes out at society, with some voicing concerns that it could inspire violence. Certain theaters around the country saw increased police presence for the movie's opening weekend, with one in California closing down Thursday night due to a credible threat.

But audiences still turned out in droves to the point that Joker made roughly the same in its opening weekend as the DC team-up blockbuster Justice League, despite being a slow-paced, R-rated character study with a reported budget of $55 million. Now, with plenty of buzz surrounding Joaquin Phoenix's performance, prepare for Oscar voters to send in the clowns to the 2020 Academy Awards.