Joker: Joaquin Phoenix film becomes most profitable comic book film ever

11 November 2019, 14:55 | Updated: 11 November 2019, 17:07

Joker, the film that tells the origin story of Batman's arch-nemesis, has become the most profitable comic book film ever, after taking more than $953m (£740m) worldwide at the box office.

Joker's initial budget was $62.5m (£48.5m), meaning it has scooped around 15 times more than it took to make - a record for a film based on a comic book, according to Forbes.

It has overtaken movies such as Venom, which grossed $856m (£665m) on a budget of just under $100m (£78m) and Deadpool, which cost $58m (£45m) to produce and made around $783m (£608m) at the box office.

Joker is also the highest-grossing R-rated (films which can only be watched by people over the age of 18) film of all time, surpassing Deadpool 2 in October.

Marvel's Avengers: Endgame remains the highest grossing film of all time, taking $2.8bn at the box office.

For DC, the comic book brand behind the film, Aquaman still remains its highest grossing movie, ahead of Batman films The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.

Joker is also expected to cross the $1bn (£777m) threshold at the global box office later this month, which will make it the cheapest film to cross the milestone - a record currently held by Jurassic Park, which cost $63m (£49m) to make.

Set in 1981, Joker follows failed stand-up comedian Arthur Fleck, played by Joaquin Phoenix, who turns to a life of crime in Gotham City.

On its release, Joker was criticised for the way it dealt with mental health, as well as being accused of glorifying violence.

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Family members of the victims of a 2012 mass shooting inside a US cinema, where the killer reportedly identified as the Joker, signed a letter to producers Warner Bros, expressing concerns about the film.

Warner Bros responded, saying: "Make no mistake: neither the fictional character Joker, nor the film, is an endorsement of real-world violence of any kind.

"It is not the intention of the film, the filmmakers or the studio to hold this character up as a hero."

Despite criticism, Joker did take away the top prize at the Venice Film Festival this year, and Phoenix is widely tipped to walk away with the best actor Oscar at next year's Academy Awards.

Phoenix has previously said he would not be interested in a sequel to Joker, saying his attraction to the role was based on it being a stand-alone film.

But the actor has recently mocked up some Joker 2 posters, triggering fresh rumours about a second outing for the character.