After another top-six finish at the box office, in only it’s fifth weekend in release, Warner Brothers and DC’s Joker has become the most profitable comic book movie of all time with a worldwide gross of around $980 million.
It has done this despite making somewhere in the neighborhood of three times less than all-time worldwide box office champion Avengers: Endgame, which made $2.79 billion this past summer.
Though originally thought of as a pointless endeavor that was guaranteed to flop, director Todd Phillips managed to prove critics wrong and put together a film that was well-received by both critics and audiences.
Joker has also become somewhat of a pop-cultural phenomenon. It’s now-iconic stairway dance scene, which was shot in the Bronx, has quickly become a major tourist attraction.
The main reason it is so profitable is due to its budget.
Joker only cost $62 million to produce. Endgame cost over $350 million.
Most movies need to make twice its budget just to break even. Then when you factor in Endgame’s huge cast and the profit-sharing involved with all of them, suddenly the ceiling to make a profit keeps on getting higher and higher.
Reportedly, Robert Downey Jr. made over $75 million just from Infinity War.
This also does not take into account the piles of cash Disney made from merchandising the hell out of the movie. Despite all the Joker costumes you saw this Halloween, WB is not making much in terms of merchandising for this.
A lot of this is also just creative accounting.
Studios are notorious for lying about how much actual profit their films make in order to avoid paying both the taxman and the people they owe a cut of the profits to.
Remember, Peter Jackson had to sue New Line in order to get his proper cut of The Lord Of The Rings’ profits because the studio claimed they barely made any money on the trilogy.