The attention surrounding Todd Phillips’ Joker has been incredible, with the film dividing opinions drastically over its depiction of on-screen violence and mental illness while Joaquin Phoenix’s stunning incarnation of the Joker character stands at the centre. In the past month, Joker has become the most profitable comic book film earning $950 million at the Global Box Office by the 11th November and today a landmark accomplishment was achieved as news hit that Phillips’ Joker has become the first R-rated film to pass the $1 billion mark in global ticket sales.
The merit of this achievement is made all the more amazing when you consider the rather modest budget that the film was made on. Phillips had a budget of $62.5 million, a “fraction of the budget of many comic book adaptations” such as Avengers: Endgame that was made on a budget of $356 million. When looked at through this lens, the collaboration between Phillips, Phoenix, and the entire creative team behind Joker is extraordinary and to make history as the first R-rated film to gross such an amount is something inspiring.
It’s hard to place a definitive finger on what has made such a film so attractive for so many people, but what stands out is that despite it being a comic book adaptation it doesn’t feel overwhelmingly like one. The character study that Phillips gives us on screen is one more concerned with the individual and commenting on society, rather than making the sole focus Joker and Batman’s relationship. This origin story feels innovative but not far removed from reality; it relatable. Although not everyone that suffers from mental health issues will follow the same path as Arthur Fleck, there are moments of identification from the viewer to the events/feelings on screen. As well as that, the cinematic genius of Phillips and intensely vulnerable but strong performance of Phoenix make this such an attractive film.
Without going into a full review there is no surprise that Joker has smashed this record. It’s innovative in every aspect of storytelling and inclusive in the way it doesn’t exclude non-comic book readers, allowing everyone the real opportunity to enjoy it for whatever reason they want. It feels probable that soon we will be seeing another record broken.
Read a full review of Joker here.
Watch the trailer for Joker, which is out now via Warner Bros. Pictures, below: