Joker has landed with a bang in the Australian box office, taking almost $10m across its first weekend. Directed by The Hangover Trilogy’s Todd Phillips, the movie stars Joaquin Phoenix as the titular villain from the DC Comic universe.

Airing across 556 screens, the film took $9.746m for its first weekend, adding to a global taking of USD$248m to date.

Joker has performed well across the Australian box office, taking just under $10m in its first weekend

Joker has been mostly well received by critics, although some questioned whether audiences still crave films about violent villains, and queried its idealisation of white male violence. The film made headlines upon its release when journalists were restricted from red carpet events around it and extra security was put in place over fears of cinema shootings in the same style as the 2012 Aurora, Colorado massacre during The Dark Knight which saw 12 people killed and 70 injured.

The new Joker film toppled Ride Like A Girl which took $1.7m last weekend to top the box office. The Australian-made movie took another $1.722m across the weekend, giving it a running total of $4.59m.

The spring school holidays had a profound impact on the box office with three of the top five films children’s titles which increased on their takings last week. Universal’s animated picture Abominable grew by 45%, jumping to second place with a $1.722m taking for its third week out, while The Angry Birds Movie 2 rose 37% for its fourth week – a taking of $1.5m.

Dora and the Lost City of Gold rounded out the top five, taking just over $1m for its third week across 301 screens, an increase of 27% on last week.

Downton Abbey held onto the top 10 in sixth place with another $907,798 to its total of $11.3m. It was followed by Good Boys which took $648,675 across 223 screens and War which landed $571,740 for its second weekend. The Indian Hindi-language action thriller was directed by Siddharth Anand and has been smashing records in the Indian box office.

Ad Astra, the Brad Pitt-fronted sci-fi flick, took another $546,856 across its third week – a 55% drop from the week prior to land it in ninth place. Chinese drama film My People, My Country rounded out the top 10 with $514,636 across 35 screens.