Joker is one of the most successful films in recent history: it's not only the highest grossing rated-R movie of all time but one of the most profitable too. With a modest budget of $55 million, director Todd Phillips managed to strike a chord with audiences by picking a strong direction for the film, making it as gorgeous-looking as possible, and relying heavily on a character-driven arc with the film's lead.
It continues to captivate audiences worldwide, which has fans clamoring for a sequel.
But merely entertaining the idea of a Part 2 for the film is a problematic venture, at best. Warner Bros. never expected Joker to be as successful as it is, in fact, they had hesitations about greenlighting it in the first place. Todd Phillips went on the record prior to the release of the movie, insisting that it would be a standalone project and not a "world-building" film, similar to the vein of what DC attempted before or what Marvel is currently doing so well.
Then there's the troublesome fact that Joaquin Phoenix, a huge reason why the movie is such a hit in the first place, is clearly not motivated entirely by money. Sure, he made a nice $4.5 million for his part in the flick, and isn't a starving artist by any means, but he largely eschews huge box office films and seems more concerned with acting in productions that seem more specifically fulfilling to him.
Joaquin has said himself that signing on for a sequel simply because the first film made a lot of money is a "ridiculous" idea to him, and he seems to mean it. That being said, however, he did jokingly create a series of Joker posters, saying that there was so much to dig into for the character that several spin-offs could be made. The posters featured the iconic DC villain as the lead in classic films. Joaquin spoke about it with the Los Angeles Times:
"I guess the fear was that you’d get locked into doing something repeatedly that you don’t really care about, that doesn’t motivate you or excite you. Part of the whole attraction to me [of Joker] was there was no expectation. I didn’t sign a deal to do [more movies]. It was a one-off. Long before the release or before we had any idea if it would be successful, we talked about sequels..."
Joaquin continued, "In the second or third week of shooting, I was like, ‘Todd, can you start working on a sequel? There’s way too much to explore.’ It was kind of in jest — but not really... I basically said, ‘You could take this character and put him in any movie. So I did a photo shoot with the on-set photographer and we made posters where I photoshopped Joker into 10 classic movies."
Those movies, the actor said included, "‘Rosemary’s Baby,’ ‘Raging Bull,’ ‘Yentl.’ If you see it, you’re like, ‘Yeah, I’d watch that movie.’ ‘Yentl’ with Joker? That would be amazing!"
Director Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix are currently discussing a possible sequel, as an option for one is in the actor's contract. Todd, however, is on the same page as Joaquin when it comes to a Part 2 — it needs to have a "thematic resonance."
"We’ve only talked about the fact that if we ever did one — and I’m not saying we are because right now we’re not — it couldn’t just be this wild and crazy movie about the ‘Clown Prince of Crime.' That just doesn’t interest us. It would have to have some thematic resonance in a similar way that this does."
Apparently, The Hollywood Reporter has some inside info that will make Joker fans very happy: Phillips and co-writer Scott Silver are reportedly coming back to make a sequel.
Todd has allegedly come up with other DC comics origin stories as well and pitched them to the studio.
Will Batman be in the Joker sequel?
Contrary to rumors, Matt Reeves The Batman starring Robert Pattinson, is a standalone film from Phillips' Joker flick and the caped crusader, according to the THR report, will not be making an appearance in Joaquin Phoenix's next turn as the disturbed criminal.
Not much else is known about the Joker sequel, but we do know that if Joaquin Phoenix is on board, then it's probably not going to be a "sell out" flick that abandons the approach of the team behind the first film, which is exciting news for audiences. Are you stoked for a Joker sequel?