Joker Officially Highest Grossing R-Rated Movie Of All Time - Comic Years
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Joker Officially Highest Grossing R-Rated Movie Of All Time

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BY February 18, 2021

Without a doubt, 2019 has been the year of surpassing movie records. After Avengers: Endgame beat Avatar at the box office and became the highest-grossing film of all time earlier this year, it’s clear that comic book films are the future of cinema. So, when Joker, featuring the always amazing Joaquin Pheonix released earlier this month, we knew some records were in its future. Well, Joker has now surpassed Deadpool 2 (which grossed $785.05 million after its release in 2018) as the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time. What’s even more impressive is that Joker is still in its first month, and should easily pass $800 million in the near future.

What Makes Joker So Profitable And Deserving Of The Highest Grossing Title?

Joker grossing r-rated Image via Warner Bros.

Creating R-rated films can be a risk. It limits potential audience members just by cutting off those underage theatre goers. And some people just don’t have the stomach to brave the potential violence that’s typically held in films rated RDeadpool featured a similar level of violence as Joker, but plenty of its crude nature comes from its vulgar humor. Instead, Joker uses its dark, gritty portrayal of a budding psychopath to get its r-rating.

When it comes to considering how profitable a film is, it’s not just about the box office numbers. A film can make a ton of money, but it can also cost a ton of money. Joker has the added benefit of only costing an estimated $55-70 million, whereas something like Infinity War had a monster budget of $316 million. As it stands now, Joker is just as profitable for Warner Bros. as Infinity War was for Marvel and Disney. Naturally, the Avengers film cost more to make and had to reach a higher box office to make that money back. So, while Joker isn’t close to Infinity War‘s total box office, it made just as much money for its parent studio as the massive 2018 movie did.

Ryan Reynolds Reacts

It’s a tradition in the box office world for previous title owners to pass along the torch. So, Deadpool star and producer Ryan Reynolds had to take notice. Reynolds is well known for being comedic on Twitter, so it was no surprise when he took his chance to use his platform wisely. In his post, he calls out the stars of other r-rated film leads, such as Hugh Jackman, Pennywise from It and Deadpool himself. Phoenix’s Joker dances atop their names on the now infamous stairs that are featured in the movie. Nice move, Reynolds.

Joker Leads The Future Of The Gritty Comic Book Film

It’s been proven that comic book films can take many forms. From Thor: Ragnarok’s colorful and fun aesthetic to The Dark Knight’s ultimate darkness, we’ve seen it all. Creators like DC and Marvel have so many stories to tell, and heroes and villains to show off. So, the potential for stories is limitless. Joker proves that one-off character studies are wanted. It doesn’t all have to tie into an overarching universe to get people in the theatre seats.

So, are you surprised by how well Joker has been doing at the box office, becoming the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time? And what character would you like to see DC treat to a character study next? Let us know!

Featured image via Warner Bros. Pictures.


Meghan Hale is the kind of movie lover that has a "must watch" that is a mile long... and growing. When she isn't talking about the latest film and television news she is writing one of her many in-process novels, screaming film trivia at anybody who will listen, and working as a mental health care professional. Follow her on Twitter @meghanrhale for some fun theories and live reactions to all things entertainment.


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