'Joker' reigns supreme at UAE box office with whopping Dh3.3 million opening day

In four days over its opening weekend, Joker made Dh10.5m and was seen by 195,687 people

The US seems to not be alone in its love of Joaquin Phoenix's Joker, with UAE audiences coming out in force for the gritty origin tale of Batman's most notorious enemy.

Joker was released in UAE cinemas on Thursday, October 3, and posted an opening day earning of Dh3.3 million on the day alone. With 62,342 people attending a screening, this meant it contributed to almost half of all box office earnings from across the UAE for that day.

In the four days between Thursday and Sunday, Joker made Dh10.5m and was seen by 195,687 people. It's currently being shown on 147 screens across the country.

It's an impressive posting, sure, but the earnings still pale in comparison to the UAE's biggest-ever opener, Avengers: Endgame, which made Dh21.8m over four days in its opening weekend and was seen by 443,313 people.

It was a similar story in the US, where it was a record October opening for the R-rated film, dispelling any concerns over its violent themes and ramped up theater security.

Warner Bros said that Joker grossed an estimated $93.5 million (Dh344m) in ticket sales from 4,374 screens in North America. The previous October record-holder was the Spider-Man spin-off Venom which opened to $80 million (Dh293.8m) last year. Internationally, Joker earned $140.5 million from 73 markets, resulting in a stunning $234 million global debut.

"This was a much larger result at the box office than we had ever anticipated globally," said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros' president of domestic distribution. "Putting records aside, we're just thrilled that audiences are embracing the movie as strong as they are."

Since debuting at the Venice Film Festival where it won the prestigious Golden Lion last month, Joker has been both praised and criticised for its dark spin on the classic Batman villain played by Phoenix. The film from director and co-writer Todd Phillips was always seen as a bit of a gamble with one of the studios' most valuable pieces of intellectual property, hence its modest-for-a-comic-book-film $55 million budget.