Last laugh: ‘Joker’ movie smashes October record with $96M debut

"Joker" had a smash opening weekend, pulling in more than $93 million in the United States.
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"Joker" had a smash opening weekend, pulling in more than $93 million in the United States.

The Clown Prince of Crime is getting the last laugh.

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Update 10:37 a.m. EDT Oct. 7: Despite heightened security nationwide, the release of "Joker" set a record for an October movie debut, pulling in even more money than Warner Bros. originally reported, according to Variety.

The dark, R-rated film about Batman's villainous nemesis brought in $96 million from 4,374 North American theaters over the weekend, the website reported. Originally, Warner Bros. reported domestic sales of $93.5 million.

Original story: Despite heightened security nationwide, the release of "Joker" set a new record for an October debut, pulling in $93.5 million in theaters across the United States, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The dark, R-rated film starring Joaquin Phoenix in the title role as a mentally ill misfit turned homicidal maniac also did well worldwide, with $140.5 million in more than 70 international markets, the website reported.

The domestic ticket sales for the movie featuring Batman's criminal nemesis topped the record set last year by "Venom," which pulled in $80 million, Variety reported.

"Joker," which co-stars Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz and Frances Conroy, follows the deteriorating mental state of Arthur Fleck (Phoenix), a stand-up comedian who becomes out of control as his life and career take a negative turn, Variety reported.

The film sparked concern about violence at theaters, and cinemas and police departments beefed up security in anticipation.

Customers were reminded that face paint, masks and toy weapons were not allowed, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Warner Bros. issued a statement last month in anticipation of concerns generated by the film, CNN reported.

"Warner Bros. believes that one of the functions of storytelling is to provoke difficult conversations around complex issues," a statement said. "It is not the intention of the film, the filmmakers or the studio to hold this character up as a hero."

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