Joker about to become first R-rated movie to earn $1 billion

And that's without any money from the huge mainland China market.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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Gael Cooper

You know what's cool? A billion dollars.

Niko Tavernise

No joke: Joker on Friday is set to become the first R-rated film to earn a billion dollars at the worldwide box office, according to Forbes. The dark drama, starring Joaquin Phoenix giving a new take on the classic Batman villain, is entering the weekend with earnings of approximately $998 million worldwide, the site reports. The film opened on Oct. 4 in the US. 

The billion-dollar box office club isn't as hard to join as it once was. If Joker passes that milestone, it will have plenty of company, though none of those films had the more adult R-rating. Billion-dollar films so far in 2019 include Aquaman, Toy Story 4, The Lion King, Captain Marvel , Avengers: Endgame, Aladdin and Spider-Man: Far From Home. Aquaman opened in late 2018, but crossed the billion-dollar mark in 2019.

While Joker has been aided by ticket sales from around the globe, it hasn't had help from mainland China. Deadline reports that due to the film's "oppressive society tone," it won't be released there.

While Joker may be the most successful R-rated movie worldwide, MarketWatch points out that when it comes to domestic receipts, Mel Gibson's 2004 biblical film, "The Passion of the Christ," still leads. It earned $370.8 million domestically, while Joker is currently at $316.692 million, Forbes reports.

The Joker: See all the actors who've played the DC Comics villain

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