Joker laughs its way to October box office with record debut

The R-rated, controversial film Joker has set a new record at the October box office.

Studios estimate the controversial film earned an estimated $93.5 million US in North America opening weekend

Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, had a record October opening despite controversy surrounding the dark film. (Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros. Entertainment)

Warner Bros.' R-rated Joker has set a new record at the October box office.

Studios on Sunday estimate that the dark spin on the classic Batman villain earned an estimated $93.5 million US from ticket sales in its first weekend in North American theatres. The previous October record-holder was the Spider-Man spinoff Venom which opened to $80 million last year.

Scrutiny over Joker's violent themes resulted in multiple theatre chains banning costumes and authorities in numerous cities stepping up police patrols around theatres, but security concerns did not seem to detract audiences.

Starring Joaquin Phoenix in the titular role, Joker surpassed industry and studio expectations as well as its $55 million production budget.

The more family-friendly Abominable landed in second with $12 million. Downton Abbey took third with $8 million.


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