As the gritty, R-rated film continues to do big business around the world, Joker has exceeded all box office expectations for Warner Bros. but a particularly lucrative foreign market is not expected to see a wide theatrical release for the film: China.
The film is not likely to be accepted for release by the Chinese government because of the content of the film portraying a highly oppressive society, with corrupt authority figures and demonstrators violently clashing against local law enforcement.
The content concerns have emerged as mass protests in Hong Kong against the Chinese government continue to escalate since the summer. Moreover, in general, R-rated films tend to have difficulty getting the go-ahead in China.
Joker is only the latest Hollywood high-profile release not to be scheduled for theater distribution in China, with the planned opening of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood being abruptly cancelled. The abrupt cancelation was apparently due to concerns about the controversial depiction of late actor Bruce Lee by the film, with filmmaker Quentin Tarantino declining to re-edit the movie for the Chinese audience.
Even without the Chinese box office, Joker is on track to become the highest-earning R-rated film ever, surpassing the Deadpool of 2016 as it moves closer to earning over $800 million at the global box office.
Joker stars Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Bill Camp, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Douglas Hodge, Marc Maron, Josh Pais, and Shea Whigham, under the direction of Todd Phillips. The movie is in theaters now.


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