As we approach the end of 2019, it’s time to take stock of the year’s biggest box office surprises. Even in a year where “Avengers: Endgame” has broken every conceivable box office record, the biggest surprise of 2019 is “Joker.” And now, in its fifth week of release, the R-rated Warner Bros. release, directed by Todd Phillips, is not only approaching $1 billion worldwide but is now the most profitable comic book film of all time.
According to a new report from Forbes, “Joker” has currently earned just under $953 million worldwide. And by the end of tonight, the film will have accumulated box office receipts totally $957 million. Not only is this spitting distance from $1 billion (which is almost assuredly going to happen), but the new box office cume means that “Joker” has earned an astonishing 15.3x its modest $62.5 million budget. No matter which box office metrics you use, that’s a lot of profit for WB.
In fact, earning 15.3x its budget makes “Joker” the most profitable major comic book movie ever released, beating Jim Carrey’s “The Mask,” which earned $351 million and only carried a $23 million budget back in 1994.
If you’re interested in what other comic book films fit this profitability list, it’s a surprising group, which includes Tim Burton’s “Batman,” “Deadpool,” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” There’s also last year’s “Venom,” which is the film that many compare to “Joker,” as far as box office goes. The Tom Hardy film earned $854 million from a relatively modest budget of “only” $90 million. But again, “Joker” has not only earned almost $100 million more than “Venom” already but cost almost two-thirds as much.
For fun, if you want to compare “Joker” to the aforementioned “Avengers: Endgame,” the math is absolutely ludicrous. The reported budget for ‘Endgame’ is a massive $356 million (more than 5x the cost of the WB film). And for the Marvel Studios film to earn 15.3x its budget, ‘Endgame’ would have needed to pull in $5.45 billion worldwide. Sure, $2.9 billion isn’t anything to sneeze at, but it’s a far cry from $5.45 billion.