'Joker' is on track to make more money than any other R-rated movie in history at the box office

Warner Bros.‘Joker’ is expected to surpass ‘Deadpool’ as the biggest R-rated movie ever.
  • Box-office experts project “Joker” to surpass “Deadpool” as the world’s highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time.
  • “Joker” currently stands at $US737 million globally, while “Deadpool” earned $US783 million.
  • “Joker” is a box-office success despite not being released in China.
  • Experts are sceptical that “Joker” could be the first R-rated movie to reach $US1 billion worldwide, but say a China release could get it there.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

“Joker” is on its way to dethroning “Deadpool” as the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time (before inflation), and it hasn’t even been released in China.

The Warner Bros. and DC Comics origin movie about Batman’s famous foe has grossed $US737 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. “Deadpool” earned $US783 million worldwide in 2016, which analysts believe “Joker” will easily pass when all is said and done.

“Pre-release tracking for ‘Joker’ was tough since there weren’t comparable titles that fit particularly well,” Daniel Loria, the Boxoffice Pro editorial director, told Business Insider. “I’m currently looking at ‘Venom,’ which made $US856 million worldwide, and ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,’ which made $US873 million worldwide, as benchmarks for comparison. It wouldn’t surprise me if it ends up around that range, even without China.”

READ MORE: ‘Star Wars’ is a box-office juggernaut but has struggled for years in China. Disney wants to change that.

The incredibly violent “Joker” has not been approved for release in China (neither was “Deadpool”). A Warner Bros. representative did not immediately return a request for comment from Business Insider on a potential China release.

But if “Joker” were to be miraculously released in China, there’s precedent for its success. Another R-rated comic-book movie, “Logan,” grossed $US106 million in the region (and $US619 million worldwide).

“‘Joker,’ over the course of just three weekends, has become the most talked about movie of the year, weathered the early storm of security concerns, and turned the frown of controversy upside down to make it a selling point rather than a problem,” Paul Dergarabedian, the Comscore senior media analyst, said.

Dergarabedian also projected that “Joker” will make more than $US850 million worldwide by the end of its theatrical run. Jeff Bock, the Exhibitor Relations senior box-office analyst, told Business Insider that $US900 million is likely.

But can it be the first R-rated movie to hit $US1 billion? Without China, box-office experts are sceptical.

“I’m not sure ‘Joker’ has enough legs to hit $US1 billion worldwide, but that we’re even talking about that is an achievement,” Loria said.

“If ‘Joker’ had a China date, we could easily be talking about $US1 billion worldwide,” Bock said. “It should have another great week domestically, but after Halloween, competition gets a bit more treacherous with ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ and ‘Doctor Sleep’ waiting to jack ‘Joker’s’ box office.”

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