'Joker' wins top Venice prize, on track to break October box office record

Gregory Wakeman
Todd Phillips (C), flanked by US actor Joaquin Phoenix (R) and President of the Venice Biennale Paolo Baratta, holds the Golden Lion award for Best Film. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

Todd Phillips’ Joker has confirmed its dominance of the 2019 Venice Film Festival by landing the prestigious Golden Lion award, the event’s top prize.

The comic-book film, which tells the origin story of the legendary villain, immediately sparked a hysterical reaction from those lucky enough to have seen it after it premiered at the film festival last weekend, with some labelling it a “masterpiece.”

Clearly it made quite the impact on the jurors at this year’s competition, too. This is quite the feat for Joker, because previous Venice Golden Lion winners have gone on to compete heavily at the Academy Awards. Last year Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma claimed the top prize, as did The Shape Of Water in 2018.

Read More: First Joker reviews call it a ‘masterpiece’

It didn’t all go Joker’s way at the prize ceremony, though.

Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker

Joaquin Phoenix, who has been roundly praised for his performance as the titular character in Joker, was beaten to the Best Actor gong by Luca Marinelli in Martin Eden, while Ariane Ascaride claimed the Best Actress award for Gloria Mundi, and Roy Andersson picked up Best Director for About Endlessness.

The critical acclaim and feverish discussion surrounding Joker has already started to pay dividends for Warner Bros, too, as the box office projections for the film have risen quite a lot in the last week.

Read More: Joaquin Phoenix lost so much weight for 'Joker' he started ‘to go mad’

In fact, box office expert Shawn Robbins recently told Comic Book.com that it is now looking increasingly likely that Joker will gross around £81 million ($100 million) over its opening weekend in the US alone when it is released at the start of October. This would eclipse the previous October box office record, which is currently held by Venom at £65.3 million ($80.3 million).

We’l find out how just good Joker is when it is released on 4 October.