LOS ANGELES - Warner Bros.' R-rated "Joker" has set a new record at the October box office.
Studios on Sunday estimate that the dark spin on the classic Batman villain earned an estimated $93.5 million from ticket sales in its first weekend in North American theaters. The previous October record-holder was the Spider-Man spinoff "Venom" which opened to $80 million last year.
Scrutiny over "Joker's" violent themes resulted in multiple theater chains banning costumes and authorities in numerous cities stepping up police patrols around theaters, but security concerns did not seem to detract audiences.
Starring Joaquin Phoenix in the titular role, "Joker" surpassed industry and studio expectations as well as its $55 million production budget.
The more family friendly "Abominable" landed in second with $12 million. "Downton Abbey" took third with $8 million.