Kevin Smith seemed impressed that Warner Bros. and DC Films took a chance on Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker origin movie. The film is set in the ’80s, the movie is said to tackle the Clown Prince of Crime’s early days as a failed comedian and will allegedly feature Batman’s father, Thomas Wayne. Acclaimed filmmaker Martin Scorsese is expected to produce the film while The Hangover director Todd Phillips will helm. Production is set to kick off sometime this September with a budget of $55 million – a relatively small amount compared to previous DC movies’ budgets.
Admittedly, not everyone was thrilled when the Joker film was announced. I personally wasn’t thrilled, and even now when more details have come out about the movie, there are still people who are skeptical about the project. Especially since Jared Leto’s previously introduced version is still a go at Warner Bros. However, if Smith is to be asked, he thinks what the studio is doing now is ultimately the right move considering their current superhero movie track record.
Talking on the recent episode of his Hollywood Babble-On podcast, the comic book connoisseur and the poster boy for geek fandom shared his two cents about the upcoming Joker movie, and he’s giving credit to Warner Bros. and DC Films for their latest bold move. Here’s what he said:
I think what they’re doing is smart. This is a cheap movie, it’s $55 million. They’re not spending – $55 [million] for a comic book property? That’s very inexpensive. They’re going Logan model, which is keep it low-budget and make it more adult.
They’re experimenting. You gotta applaud ’em for this. Everyone’s always sh-tting on Warner Bros. going, ‘You’re f-cking up your movies!’ And like, this is them trying a new direction where they’re like, ‘Look, obviously the extended universe stuff we’re having a problem with. How about we just go back to the old way, which we used to do, where we just f-ckin’ take material, give it to a director, and say f-ckin’ go, and we don’t worry about a fanbase and connecting the movies.
At this point, Warner Bros. has everything to gain and (almost) nothing to lose by taking a chance on the Joker film. If this small experiment turns out way better than any of the DCEU films they’ve put out thus far, then they have a potentially sustainable banner under their belt – an idea they can rightfully claim as theirs. Instead of trying to emulate Marvel Studios’ business model in the hopes of also gaining the same level of mass and critical success the MCU currently enjoys, they could be the pioneers of a brand new trend that could evolve the slowly stagnating comic book movie genre.
On the other hand, if the venture fails, it’s not going to hurt as much as seeing a big-budget movie like Justice League flop given the Joker movie’s low budget (which is what new DC Movie president Walter Hamada is known for). The fact that it’s also separate from the DCEU gives Warner Bros. the option to totally disregard it moving forward since that wouldn’t affect the previously established canon they are still building on.
With the people involved in the Joker origin movie, it’s hard just to discard it. The mere idea that Warner Bros. was able to convince Phoenix to finally work on a comic book movie after he famously passed up on offers to play Doctor Strange in the MCU is a good indication there’s something special about this upcoming film.