Long Range Forecast: Joker

One of fall’s most anticipated releases is the subject of this week’s report: Warner Bros., DC, and director Todd Phillips’s Joker.


  • As one of the most iconic characters in comic book and cinema history, fans are eagerly awaiting the latest interpretation of the Joker by one of the industry’s most intriguing and acclaimed actors working today (Joaquin Phoenix).

  • Thanks to films like the Deadpool movies and Logan, audiences have shown their appetite for well-made, adult-driven, R-rated comic book movies. Through that lens, this isn’t perceived as the major risk it may have been just a few years ago.

  • The DC universe has seen a bit of a rebound with audiences and critics recently thanks to Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Shazam! earlier this year.

  • Trailer activity has been very strong, trending ahead of Logan at the same point before release. Social media trends are also encouraging.

  • Early praise — though far from representing a large sample yet — brings some confidence into play. If the film manages to inspire the kind of awards season conversation Logan enjoyed in early 2017, it could develop staying power with a presumably weaker October/November slate to contend with relative to last year’s record period in that corridor.

  • Competition for a wide audience won’t be too concerning with only October 11’s Gemini Man similarly courting adults as of right now.


  • What may end up dividing many fans is the fact that Phillips and others working on the film have publicly confirmed they aren’t following any single comic narrative. More to the point, one of the most hotly debated subjects surrounding the Joker has been whether or not his lack of an origin story is part of what makes him compelling to fans and/or casual moviegoers.

  • Considering this won’t have much of a family audience to lean on like most comic book films do, there’s even more importance on fan reactions and word of mouth among older audiences than usual for the genre. For now, we’re expecting a run more akin to a (very) high-level performer in the R-rated crime/thriller bracket than the usual comic book blockbuster realm.

  • While Suicide Squad and its $133.7 million opening in August 2016 could be pointed to as evidence that enough time has passed for audiences to give another actor a shot as the iconic villain in the wake of Heath Ledger’s beloved, Oscar-winning performance in 2008’s The Dark Knight, Jared Leto’s take was also but a small part of the ensemble appeal behind Squad‘s success three years ago. It remains to be seen how strong of an attraction the Joker character is on his own — particularly given this is an origin story.

  • As DC’s first significant departure from PG-13, family-friendly material in the modern era, moviegoer interest — and eventual sentiment — are expected to combine for forecasts that should be viewed as significantly volatile until closer to release.

Opening Weekend Range: $60 – 90 million

8-Week Forecast

Release Date Title 3-Day Wide Release Tracking % Chg from Last Week Domestic Total Forecast % Chg from Last Week Estimated Location Count Distributor
8/13/2019 The Angry Birds Movie 2 $17,000,000 -11% $70,000,000   3,500 Sony / Columbia
8/16/2019 47 Meters Down: Uncaged $13,000,000 -13% $34,000,000 -13% 2,500 Entertainment Studios
8/16/2019 Blinded By the Light $5,500,000 -15% $18,000,000 -10% 2,000 Warner Bros.
8/16/2019 Good Boys $12,000,000 -20% $36,000,000 -16% 3,000 Universal
8/16/2019 Where’d You Go, Bernadette $6,000,000 -45% $25,000,000 -44% 2,300 United Artists Releasing
8/23/2019 Angel Has Fallen $17,000,000   $49,000,000   3,400 Lionsgate
8/23/2019 Overcomer $6,500,000   $24,000,000   1,750 Sony / AFFIRM Films
8/23/2019 Ready or Not n/a   n/a   n/a Fox Searchlight
8/30/2019 Las Píldoras De Mi Novio (My Boyfriend’s Meds) n/a   n/a     Lionsgate
9/6/2019 It: Chapter 2 $138,000,000 2% $310,000,000 2%   Warner Bros. / New Line
9/13/2019 The Goldfinch $10,000,000   $33,000,000     Warner Bros.
9/13/2019 Hustlers $13,000,000   $39,000,000     STX
9/20/2019 Ad Astra $20,000,000   $65,000,000     Fox
9/20/2019 Downton Abbey n/a   n/a     Universal
9/20/2019 Rambo: Last Blood $14,500,000   $35,000,000     Lionsgate
9/27/2019 Abominable $22,500,000   $75,000,000     Universal
9/27/2019 The Hunt (2019) n/a   n/a     Universal
10/4/2019 Joker $77,000,000 NEW $175,000,000 NEW   Warner Bros.

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Alex Edghill & Jesse Rifkin contributed to this report

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