Warner Bros. movie makes $93.5M de­but amid con­tro­versy, se­cu­rity con­cerns

Edmonton Sun - - LIFE - Dave mc­nary Reuters

LOS an­ge­les — Warner bros.’ Joker laughed its way to a new record at the do­mes­tic box of­fice.

de­spite con­tro­versy and se­cu­rity con­cerns, the r-rated comic-book movie scored US$93.5 mil­lion over the week­end and now stands as the big­gest oc­to­ber launch of all time. those ticket sales eas­ily crushed the bench­mark pre­vi­ously set last year by Sony’s su­per­hero tent­pole Venom with $80 mil­lion.

di­rected by todd Phillips and star­ring Joaquin Phoenix, Joker has been the sub­ject of scru­tiny lead­ing up to its re­lease over fears that the dis­turb­ing ori­gin story of bat­man’s in­fa­mous foe could in­spire vi­o­lence. How­ever, those anx­i­eties didn’t de­ter movie­go­ers from turn­ing out en masse to see what all the fuss was about.

Joker has in­spired waves of head­lines over ap­pre­hen­sions that its de­pic­tion of a men­tally ill as­sas­sin could in­cite vi­o­lence, prompt­ing some movie the­aters to take ex­tra se­cu­rity pre­cau­tions. new york and L.a. po­lice in­creased their pres­ence around mul­ti­plexes, and ex­hi­bi­tion own­ers out­lawed cos­tumes and face masks in some venues.

the in­dus­try started to make some of these moves af­ter the 2012 mass shoot­ing in aurora, colo., at a mid­night screen­ing of The Dark Knight Rises left 12 peo­ple dead and 70 in­jured.

Mem­bers of fam­i­lies af­fected by the aurora shoot­ing had spo­ken against Joker.

the stu­dio, part of at&t Inc., said the movie isn’t in­tended “to hold this char­ac­ter up as a hero.” the com­pany said it has a long his­tory of do­nat­ing to vic­tims of vi­o­lence and noted its par­ent in re­cent weeks has called on pol­i­cy­mak­ers to ad­dress the “epi­demic” of gun vi­o­lence.

Joker, co-star­ring robert de niro, Zazie beetz and Frances con­roy, takes an un­con­ven­tional ap­proach to the su­per­hero genre. the film fol­lows arthur Fleck (Phoenix), an as­pir­ing stand-up co­me­dian who de­scends into mad­ness as his life and ca­reer be­gin to spi­ral.

as the lone na­tion­wide re­lease, Joker re­ceived the ma­jor­ity of box of­fice spoils, earn­ing more than the rest of the films in the top 10 com­bined.

Mario anzuoni/reuters

Joaquin Phoenix sars as the ti­tle char­ac­ter in the film Joker.

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