Joker 2 Costs Way, Way More Than It Should

By Jeffrey Rapaport | Published

joker 2
  • The budget fo Joker 2, or Joker: Folie à Deux, is over $200 million dollars
  • The first Joker movie cost just $60 million
  • The budget appears to be part of Warner Bros strategy

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away: films cost less than $100 million. But our’s is a new era—one in which films like Warner Bros.’s upcoming Joker 2 cost twice that.

That’s right: the sequel to Joker sports a whopping $200 million budget. 

Joker 2 Is Much More Expensive Than The First Movie

joaquin phoenix

The figure is dramatically higher than the budget for the original Joaquin Phoenix film—produced on a comparably modest $60 million budget (though the movie eventually took in a billion dollars worldwide).

Of course, Phoenix is no newcomer and is indispensable to the franchise, so his involvement in the sequel came with a hefty $20 million paycheck. His co-star, Lady Gaga, will take home around $12 million for her portrayal of Harley Quinn. 

Part Of A Bigger Strategy?

The decision on Joker 2 was made by the Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group chiefs, Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy, and constitutes part of their overall strategy. The tactic is to spend big on A-list talent in a wide variety of projects. 

Obviously, some Hollywood insiders—or anyone with a brain—wonder if such humongous budgets are fiscally sound. After all, the upcoming Phoenix anti-superhero film is a musical, and these tend to have mixed results at the box office.

While a prospective Warner Bros. Paul Thomas Anderson film, starring none other than Leonardo DiCaprio, will be shot on a $115 million budget, despite Anderson’s films never having grossed more than $80 million. 

Going After Big Stars

For more evidence of their strategy at work, look no further than their efforts to secure Tom Cruise for a new film. By acquiring Cruise, the executives would leverage his box office magnetism, most recently proven by the success of Top Gun: Maverick.

Of course, even more so than Joker 2’s $20 million-a-pop Phoenix, Cruise is the A-lister’s A-lister, a storied actor beloved for his many roles in action-packed blockbusters alongside critically acclaimed dramas.

There are even rumors of a possible Cruise collab with Quentin Tarantino in the works—which would, of course, be amazing. 

Warner Bros Increasing Budgets

warner bros discovery david zaslav

Tarantino’s films have routinely received equal parts box office success and critical acclaim; the auteur represents the exact type of director Warner Bros. is eager to work with under the stewardship of De Luca and Abdy. 

Their strategy takes to the field, sparing no expense in the hunt for the biggest game around, like PT Anderson, mentioned above, and his upcoming collaboration with Leo.

Joaquin Phoenix Making Huge Sums

joker 2

In fact, in a perfect indication of De Luca and Abdy’s ridiculous approach to budgeting, Leo will be paid around the same meagre pittance as Phoenix in Joker 2: $20 million-plus for leading the cast. 

I mean, c’mon. 

The spending spree continues—Warner Bros., like a vampiric entity thirsting for high-profile, high-budget projects, is also laboring over a vampire horror flick created by Ryan Coogler, starring Michael B. Jordan. In an unheard-of move, the studio has even agreed to hand over the film’s copyright to Coogler after 25 years. 

Joker 2 Will Have To Be A Smash

Some say the insane budgets are all part of Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav’s ambition to make the company more attractive for a potential sale, merger, or acquisition. Indeed, the two-year lock-up period following the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery nears its expiration; once expired, it = would enable Zaslav to take Warner Bros. like a heifer to market.  

With vast profits under his belt—say, an enormously profitable Joker 2 earning at least as much as Joker—Zaslav could part with Warner Bros. for a pretty penny indeed.

Let’s hope it pays off! 

Source: Variety