Box Office: 'Joker' Lands Overseas With $5.4M Opening Day

Warner Bros. Pictures

The R-rated movie starring Joaquin Phoenix as the DC Comics antihero is expected to break October records at the North American box office.

Todd Phillips' Joker landed in its first international markets Wednesday, earning $5.4 million from four territories including previews. 

In North America, the dark origin story, starring Joaquin Phoenix, begins its run Thursday night. The movie is widely expected to open to $80 million-plus at the domestic box office and top the October record set last year by Sony's Venom ($80.3 million), not adjusted for inflation.

Joker scored $2.25 million at its Wednesday opening in Korea, tying with a public holiday. In India, the film opened with $900,000, making it the top foreign film in the market. In Indonesia, Joker opened with $846,000, while in Belgium, the film launched to $170,000. The film will open in an additional 43 markets Thursday, including major territories such as Russia, Australia, Brazil and Mexico, and will expand to a total of 73 markets by the end of the weekend. 

Joker opens in much of the rest of the world timed to its U.S. launch (to date, it doesn't have a China release). Tracking suggests it will bow to $60 million or more abroad, a strong start for an R-rated title that is far from a normal Hollywood superhero project (the DC logo doesn't even appear in the credits).

Warner Bros. is more conservative in its North American forecast, suggesting $75 million to $80 million. It remains unclear whether heightened security at theaters in markets including Los Angeles and New York will impact traffic. So far, prerelease tracking doesn't reflect any downturn in interest despite widespread headlines noting the film's realistic and violent themes as it charts the evolution of the titular character from a disenfranchised, mentally troubled misfit into a homicidal maniac who incites mayhem.

To date, there have been no credible or specific threats made to theaters, according to the FBI and law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles and New York. Still, police in both those cities say they may deploy officers to various cinemas screening Joker (that's not unusual for a high-profile release, including Star Wars films).

The generally well-reviewed movie cost at least $64 million to produce before marketing. Village Roadshow Pictures, Warners' longtime partner, and Bron Studios each have a stake in the pic, which made the rounds at the fall film festivals in search of awards glory. Phoenix, in particular, has drawn praise for his performance.

On Thursday, Fandango said that Joker is on track to achieve the biggest presales for an October release.