Rescue plan

WB’s DCEU Rescue Plan Is What Joker Should Have Inspired In 2019

It is said that Warner Bros. Discovery is interested in more DC movies like Joker, and it could reignite Todd Phillips’ pitch for a DC Black division.

The redesign of DC Films by Warner Bros. Discovery could lead to reviving Todd Phillips’ talk for a DC Black Division that was his plan after Joker. Phillips’ 2019 film starred Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, a clown for hire afflicted with a neurological disorder that causes involuntary laughter. After Fleck kills a group of Gotham City bankers in self-defense, his anonymous act makes him a symbol of resistance to oppression as he begins his gradual transformation into the Joker.

Joker was a single story unrelated to the DCEU, nor did it act as an introduction to the 2022 release of The Batman. Nevertheless, despite considerable controversy before the release, Joker became a huge hit upon its release. This is something Discovery obviously noticed before its merger with Warner Bros.


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It was reported that Discovery was looking to perform a “revision‘Warner Bros.’ approach to DC movies Discovery is said to be concerned that major characters like Superman aren’t being utilized as much as they should, while the company is also interested in producing more DC movies in the vein of Joker. This could be good news for how Todd Phillips originally sold Joker, which was billed as the first entry in a DC Black division of DC films. Warner Bros. Discovery could lead to its resurrection.

Todd Phillips’ Joker Movie Pitch Included DC Noir

Joaquin Phoenix in The Joker's makeup and full outfit for the 2019 film

As part of Todd Phillips’ initial pitch for Joker, he came up with his larger idea of ​​a DC Black subset that could co-exist alongside simpler DC films. While full details of Phillips’ proposal for DC Black are unknown, he revealed on a podcast (via IGN UK) that Joker was part of a three-film pitch from him. The other two were to be directed by other filmmakers, and Joker gives a good insight into what Phillips might have wanted.

Joker is a very different type of story for the Clown Prince of Crime, giving an origin to a villain that usually doesn’t have a definitive backstory or real name. Phoenix’s tragic Arthur Fleck is driven mad by a life of poverty and abuse, and his actions inspire Gotham City’s underclass to revolt against the city’s bourgeois. Joker shows that Phillips’ pitch for DC Black may have been based on reimagined versions of the villains’ origins, with the heroes in supporting or secondary roles or even not present at all. Phillips’ idea was obviously a major departure from most deconstructionist comic book movies, and Warner Bros. was quite hesitant. The end result nevertheless confirmed Phillips’ concept.

Warner Bros. had little faith in Joker (which became a huge hit)


Following Phillips’ pitch, Warner Bros. took several steps to stop Joker to occur. This included reducing the budget of Joker, apparently in an attempt to get Phillips to drop the project. When that didn’t work out and Phillips proceeded to JokerWB split the film’s $55 million budget with BRON Studios and Village Roadshow in an effort to mitigate what the studio considered a financial risk. Joker wouldn’t be without obstacles, but those ended up being of a very different kind with pre-release dismay that it would inspire mass shooters with Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck as a potential hero-cult figure. Ultimately, the virtual opposite of any negative prediction for Joker was what happened.

RELATED: Everything Not Real About Joker

Joker became one of the biggest hits of 2019, crossing the $1 billion mark and ranking as the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time. Phoenix’s performance was also highly praised and even won him the Best Actor Oscar. Unfortunately, WB won far less than JokerThe box office returned more than it normally would, due to the financing deal the studio put in place. Although there have been rumors and chatter about a sequel since Joker, few solid movements were seen on it, likely due to the self-contained nature of the film. That said, while Phillips and Phoenix might not be particularly keen on doing joker 2that doesn’t mean the rest of Phillips’ pitch for DC Black should be left the same way in the past.

Why DC Black Could Get A Second Life With Warner Bros. Discovery

Arthur Creates the Blood Smile in 2019's Joker

Although it’s too early to say exactly what Warner Bros. Discovery intends to do in its DC overhaul, Discovery is impressed with JokerThe performance and storytelling structure of could be a good sign for a DC Black revival. The many obstacles that Joker topped show that more singular comic book adaptations can be just as, if not more, successful than those existing in a cinematic universe. Joker, being anything but a popcorn movie in its extreme seriousness, also demonstrates that WB’s apprehension about its dark tone was a miscalculation and one that negatively affected their results. The return of DC Black under Warner Bros. Discovery could realize the potential of Phillips’ idea highlighted by Joker.

It would also be a way to continue to diversify the general landscape of comic book movies and Warner Bros. DC output specifically. With the doors opened by DC and Marvel embracing the idea of ​​the multiverse, it’s easier than ever to dismiss different continuities when explaining which Earth they inhabit. Just add a DC Black logo to the opening credits of new movies that are stylistically similar to Joker and highlighting it in marketing would let audiences know which characters — and which versions of those characters — they’ll be following. With the terrain much clearer with the success of Joker and the Multiverse goes mainstream, there’s never been a better time for DC movies to tackle quirky, risque stories with a DC Black return.

The reorganization by Warner Bros. Finding out how DC’s studio works on film is going to take some time, but their first impressions could be good news on many levels. When it comes to Joker, Phillips’ movie and Phoenix’s performance in it showed that comic book movies that buck the popular trend needn’t be viewed with trepidation. With the box office success of JokerWarner Bros. Discovery giving another look at what Phillips had in mind with DC Black would be a good idea.

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