Warner Bros.’ “Joker” laughed its way to a new record at the domestic box office.

Warner Bros.’ “Joker” laughed its way to a new record at the domestic box office.

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LOS ANGELES : ‘Joker’ breaks October box-office record with $93.5 million debut.

In spite of the controversy and security concerns, Joker scored $93.5 million over the weekend. It now stands as the biggest October launch of all time. The tickets sold easily crushed the benchmark set last year by Sony’s superhero tentpole “Venom” with $80 million.

Directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker” has been the subject of scrutiny in weeks leading up to its release over fears that the disturbing origin story of Batman’s infamous foe could inspire violence. However, those anxieties didn’t deter moviegoers from turning out en masse to see what all the fuss was about.

“Joker” has inspired waves of headlines over apprehensions that its depiction of a mentally ill assassin could incite violence, prompting movie theaters across the country to take extra security precautions. New York and Los Angeles police increased their presence around multiplexes, and exhibition owners outlawed costumes and face masks in some venues. The industry started to make some of these moves the 2012 mass shooting in Aurora, Colo., at a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” left 12 people dead and 70 injured. Members of families affected by the Aurora shooting had spoken against “Joker.”

“Joker,” co-starring Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz and Frances Conroy, takes an unconventional approach to the superhero genre. The film follows Arthur Fleck (Phoenix), an aspiring stand-up comedian who descends into madness as his life and career being to spiral. Village Roadshow and Bron Studios co-produced and co-financed the film, which reportedly cost $55 million before taking global marketing and distribution fees into account.

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