The much-anticipated film Joker, as well as Phoenix’s outstanding performance have been hailed by the audience.
According to US media, “Joker” is the largest opening for Warner Bros, which made $234 million worldwide.
Helmed by Todd Phillips, the film follows the life of Arthur Fleck (essayed by Phoenix) from 1981, as an aspiring stand-up comedian and his transition into becoming the Joker.
Fleck will be seen as a man struggling to find his way in Gotham’s fractured society.
Starring Joaquin Phoenix as Batman’s nemesis and directed by Todd Phillips, the new movie is already sparking awards buzz, with Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera saying it is headed “straight to the Oscars”.
Phoenix and Phillips were joined in the Sala Grande by Zazie Beetz, who also stars in the film as Phoenix’s character’s neighbor.
Robert De Niro, who plays a talk-show host, did not make the trek to the Lido.
Buzz in Venice had been growing steadily around the Warner Bros. movie, from the time of its unveiling last month as part of the lineup to the climax of the two press screenings and red-carpet premiere Saturday.
The reviewer described the film as “powerful and original” and said Phoenix plays the character in a way that makes him seem both sympathetic and very creepy.
Both press screenings were packed, with the second one also drawing loud applause at the end and cheers when Phoenix’s name appeared in the closing credits.
The film is a part of the DC Comics universe but stands alone as an origin story and does not include any appearances by Batman or other caped crusaders.