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This has been building since before Toby Emmerich exited and Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy took the reins at Warner Bros. Joaquin Phoenix hasn’t quite signed a deal to reprise his role as the disturbed murderous anarchist Arthur Fleck in a sequel to the billion dollar grossing “Joker,” but the film is a go.
Director Todd Phillips revealed on Instagram that there’s a “Joker” sequel script he just wrote with Scott Silver and that Phoenix, who won an Oscar for playing the title role, is reading it. That isn’t quite true; Phoenix read it awhile ago, and it has come down to making a rich deal for him to star in the genre-jumping sequel.
The screenplay is titled “Joker: Folie à deux,” the French reference being a medical term pertaining to a mental disorder that affects two or more people.
The first “Joker” was the highest grossing R-rated movie of all-time with $1.07 billion worldwide, and notched 11 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, and a second Oscar win for Hildur Guðnadóttir’s original score.
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The firing up of a “Joker” sequel will benefit De Luca and Abdy, who’ll run the studio and temporarily DC for Warner Discovery CEO David Zaslav. De Luca and Abdy are overseeing DC in the interim following Emmerich’s departure as Zaslav looks for an executive to run it across all mediums.
The motion picture side of DC has been overseen during the Emmerich era by Walter Hamada, who was responsible for getting “The Batman” spinoff HBO Max series based on Colin Farrell’s the Penguin in the works, as well as “The Suicide Squad” spinoff “Peacemaker,” with that film’s director and writer James Gunn behind the wheel.
Similar to how Marvel has created a new universe that interweaves between its movies and streaming series, a similar model is already in motion at Warner Bros. with its DC film properties. “The Batman” is the second highest grossing movie of the year to date with $770.3M and a sequel was announced by Emmerich and Reeves at CinemaCon in April.
Also upcoming on the DC side for Warners is the Dwayne Johnson-starrer “Black Adam” in October, “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” at Christmas, and next year’s “The Flash” (though Ezra Miller’s odd behavior leaves a question mark) and “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.”