‘Joker’s’ huge box-office weekend shows the appeal of edgy comic-book movies

Director Todd Phillips now owns two of the biggest R-rated openings ever.

Over the weekend, his “Joker,” starring Joaquin Phoenix in the title role, grossed $96 million in its domestic debut, Variety reported Monday — the fourth best North American opening ever for an R-rated film, not accounting for inflation.

Phillips also directed 2011’s “The Hangover: Part II,” which opened to $89.5 million — still the biggest debut ever for an R-rated comedy.

Six of the eight biggest R-rated openings ever belong to superhero or horror films (also not accounting for inflation). That list is topped by “Deadpool” ($132.4 million) and “Deadpool 2” ($125.5 million) — a superhero franchise from Fox, now owned by Disney.

“Joker” also had the biggest October opening ever, topping last year’s Spider-verse movie “Venom” ($80.3 million).

Warner Bros./DC’s “Joker” traveled well, too, grossing more than $140 million overseas, according to Box Office Mojo.

“Joker” weathered scrutiny over its provocatively violent content and reports of increased security at some theaters.

Two-thirds of its audience was younger than 35, according to Box Office Mojo, and nearly two-thirds was male.

Read more:

Why ‘Joker’ is one of the most divisive movies of the year

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