- Box-office experts project "Joker" to surpass "Deadpool" as the world's highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time.
- "Joker" currently stands at $737 million globally, while "Deadpool" earned $783 million.
- "Joker" is a box-office success despite not being released in China.
- Experts are skeptical that "Joker" could be the first R-rated movie to reach $1 billion worldwide, but say a China release could get it there.
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"Joker" is on its way to dethroning "Deadpool" as the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time (before inflation), and it hasn't even been released in China.
The Warner Bros. and DC Comics origin movie about Batman's famous foe has grossed $737 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. "Deadpool" earned $783 million worldwide in 2016, which analysts believe "Joker" will easily pass when all is said and done.
"Pre-release tracking for 'Joker' was tough since there weren't comparable titles that fit particularly well," Daniel Loria, the Boxoffice Pro editorial director, told Business Insider. "I'm currently looking at 'Venom,' which made $856 million worldwide, and 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,' which made $873 million worldwide, as benchmarks for comparison. It wouldn't surprise me if it ends up around that range, even without China."
The incredibly violent "Joker" has not been approved for release in China (neither was "Deadpool"). A Warner Bros. representative did not immediately return a request for comment from Business Insider on a potential China release.
But if "Joker" were to be miraculously released in China, there's precedent for its success. Another R-rated comic-book movie, "Logan," grossed $106 million in the region (and $619 million worldwide).
"'Joker,' over the course of just three weekends, has become the most talked about movie of the year, weathered the early storm of security concerns, and turned the frown of controversy upside down to make it a selling point rather than a problem," Paul Dergarabedian, the Comscore senior media analyst, said.
Dergarabedian also projected that "Joker" will make more than $850 million worldwide by the end of its theatrical run. Jeff Bock, the Exhibitor Relations senior box-office analyst, told Business Insider that $900 million is likely.
But can it be the first R-rated movie to hit $1 billion? Without China, box-office experts are skeptical.
"I'm not sure 'Joker' has enough legs to hit $1 billion worldwide, but that we're even talking about that is an achievement," Loria said.
"If 'Joker' had a China date, we could easily be talking about $1 billion worldwide," Bock said. "It should have another great week domestically, but after Halloween, competition gets a bit more treacherous with 'Terminator: Dark Fate' and 'Doctor Sleep' waiting to jack 'Joker's' box office."