By Associated Press
October 5, 2019

(LOS ANGELES) — Joker is getting the first laugh on its debut weekend, scoring an October box-office record with $13.3 million earned in Thursday night showings.

Warner Bros. released the figures Friday morning. Joker unseated Venom, which also holds the record for best October opening with $80.3 million, according to Comscore.

Read more: Joker Wants to Be a Movie About the Emptiness of Our Culture. Instead, It’s a Prime Example of It

The strong start comes after weeks of discussion about the R-rated film and whether it will inspire some to commit violence. The film stars Joaquin Phoenix as the man who becomes Batman’s classic nemesis in the origin story film.

Some victims of the Aurora, Colorado, theater massacre that occurred during a 2012 Dark Knight Rises showing have called on Warner Bros. to support gun control initiatives, which the studio says it already does.

A theater in Huntington Beach, California, canceled two screenings Thursday night after receiving a threat, police said. Friday showings have resumed as scheduled.

Both Phoenix and director Todd Phillips have defended the film amid the controversies, with the actor saying he trusts audiences to know the difference between right and wrong.

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