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'Joker' poised to beat 'Venom' for this box office opening record

James Leggate

Warner Bros. is laughing all the way to the bank as “Joker” broke records in its opening day and appeared poised to set a record for the weekend.

The comic book villain’s origin, starring Joaquin Phoenix, brought in $39.9 million in its opening day — including Thursday previews — making it the biggest opening day ever for a movie released in October, Jackie DeAngelis reported on Cavuto Live.

That figure left “Joker” poised to overtake Sony’s “Venom” — another comic book antihero flick — for the top October opening weekend ever. “Venom” brought in $80.3 million during its opening weekend last year, according to Box Office Mojo, a website that tracks movie box office data.

Sales for “Joker” likely benefitted from the fact that it’s also the widest October opening of all time, according to Box Office Mojo. The movie opened in 4,300 theaters, topping the 4,250 that played “Venom” its opening weekend.

That record-breaking release came despite concerns that the movie could inspire violence or a copycat incident of the 2012 shooting in Aurora, Colorado during a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises,” the sequel to the Batman movie “The Dark Knight” which had starred Heath Ledger as the Joker.

Those concerns prompted some theaters to ban masks and toy weapons. In New York, police reportedly deployed “a significant” number of undercover officers to theaters showing “Joker.”

Despite the controversy, the opening night success for “Joker” has experts estimating its opening weekend could net anywhere from $87 million to $95 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

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Here are the five movies with the top October opening weekends, before “Joker:”

5. “Paranormal Activity 3”

This 2011 horror prequel was the breakaway hit of the “found footage” series, raking in $52.6 million its opening weekend. With just a $5 million production budget, it would go on to gross $104 million.

4. “The Martian”

People spent $54.3 million to see Matt Damon growing potatoes on Mars during this 2015 sci-fi movie’s opening weekend. Directed by Ridley Scott, the film grossed a total of more than $228.4 million.

3. “Gravity”

What is it about October and space movies? This 2013 thriller starring Sandra Bullock as an astronaut trying to get back to Earth after a space station calamity brought in $55.8 million its opening weekend, and went on to gross $274 million.

2. “Halloween” (2018)

This reboot of the classic slasher flick earned $76.2 million its opening weekend. With a production budget of just $10 million, it grossed more than $159.3 million.

1. “Venom”

Just as Warner Bros. has made a popular Batman villain movie without the caped crusader, Sony’s Spider-man-less Venom movie didn’t have any trouble drawing in audiences when it released last year. The movie brought in $80.3 million its opening weekend and ranked as one of the highest-ever fall opening weekends. The Tom Hardy-starred movie grossed $213.5 million.a

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