How much profit, you ask?
Our sources say the Joaquin Phoenix pic is poised to make at least $464 million after global theatrical, TV and home entertainment windows, and it could be more if the worldwide box office for the Todd Phillips-directed movie exceeds $900M. That amount of profit isn’t that far from what Avengers: Infinity War racked up last year in black ink: that pic made a half-billion dollars but was more expensive, with a production cost and global P&A of … a half-billion dollars.
Joker‘s profit is also not that far from Black Panther‘s $476.8M, and way ahead of Aquaman‘s $260.5M (which at combined budget and P&A of $348M was 83% more expensive than Joker), Venom’s near $247M and Deadpool 2’s $235.4M.
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Global theatrical rentals for Joker are figured at $421M. With the DC brand having stumbled after Justice League, Joker continues to show the Burbank, CA lot’s resilience with its feature comic book brand after Aquaman, their highest-grossing DC title ever at $1.15 billion, as well as its glass-ceiling crasher Wonder Woman ($821.8M, another film that Joker is besting in black, after she lassoed a profit of $252.9M).
Joker is expected to be at $825M in worldwide box office at the end of its fourth weekend, while in its fourth weekend here in North America, the pic is expected to lead a sleepy Halloween frame with $19M-$20M for No. 1, off 33% from a week ago, for a running domestic total near $279M. It faces three wide openers this weekend: 101 Studios’ The Current War: Director’s Cut (estimated $3.5M), STX’s horror-thriller Countdown ($6M), and Screen Gems’ Black and Blue ($6M-$10M).
Joker, given its oppressive society tone, isn’t expected to get a release in mainland China, meaning all of the pic’s offshore territories have been released. Production costs after New York City tax credits were $70M (though some say it’s lower in the $60Ms, we heard it’s higher) and global P&A is at $120M. This is Warner Bros, and there’s no way that they’d underspend on an anticipated awards-season blockbuster it launched with a Venice Film Festival premiere, followed by plays at the Toronto and New York film festivals. (Warners is estimated to have spent $110M alone in global P&A on A Star Is Born last year.) Joker, meanwhile, is putting a few pics this autumn out of business, i.e., Gemini Man, and cutting into the ticket sales of others.
Breaking down Joker‘s numbers, global home entertainment revenues are poised to gross a combined $146M encompassing streaming, SVOD, PVOD and OTT. Warner Bros has some of the best international TV deals on the planet, near or behind Disney’s. Why is that? Because it provides a steady supply of premium product, particularly DC stuff, and foreign TV buyers are willing to pay top dollar for that to play on their shelf space. Hence, sources say Joker‘s foreign TV monies are at an estimated $124M net. Combined global video costs, plus talent participations and residuals, are set to amount to $97M. In terms of participations, sources tell me that Phillips is apt to reap the most.
These figures (see the full breakdown below) do not come from Warner Bros, Village Roadshow or Bron Studios directly, rather Deadline’s die-hard, reliable finance sources. Warners reduced its risk on the movie with Village Roadshow at 25%, and Bron Studios at 25%.
As we reported from the start, when Joker scored the best opening ever at the October domestic box office with $96M, this film’s success goes down to the Warner Bros marketing department which sold this movie as the hip, retro, cool DC film you’ve never seen before versus the dark, nasty provocateur of violence that media headlines and law enforcement agencies feared the pic would be (thank God, it was not). And also Warners distribution, which has whacked at that first weekend in October before with pics like Gravity and Blade Runner 2049 until the gold spilled out with Joker.
Yes, as a moviegoing universe we happily drink the juice of R-rated comic book films (i.e., Deadpool, Logan), and will continue to do so, But a serious one where the villain is the protagonist? Joaquin Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck has less redeeming qualities than Robert De Niro’s Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver, one of Joker‘s major cinematic inspirations. But it’s Phoenix sublime turn as a social outcast in a Reagan-esque Gotham society that has transcended, and has fans and non-fans going again and again.