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‘Joker’ sequel being discussed, director Todd Phillips isn't kidding

Shawn M. Carter

The “Joker” movie made a big box office splash in 2019 surprising critics and experts and raking in more than $1 billion worldwide since its October debut. Now, the creators behind the hit could be looking to double down.

At Deadline’s The Contenders New York, director Todd Phillips didn’t shy away from the idea of a sequel to the 2019 film, which follows Joaquin Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck, a jaded standup comic who becomes mentally unstable and turns violent against Gotham City.

“When a movie does $1 billion and cost $60 million to make, of course it comes up,” he said of the “Joker,” which won Best Film at the Venice Film Festival. “But Joaquin and I haven’t really decided on it. We’re open. I’d love to work with him. But it would have to have a real thematic resonance the way this one did, ultimately being about childhood trauma and the lack of love, and the loss of empathy. All those things are what made this movie work, so we’d have to have something that had an equal thematic resonance.”

And Warner Bros., the studio that produced and distributed the Batman spinoff, brought in $1.5 billion for 2019 with "Joker" leading the pack for the Burbank movie maker. So naturally it would have a strong desire to make a sequel.

While the studio did not immediately respond to a request for comment from FOX Business, a report in The Hollywood Reporter said Warner has sequel options in place for Phoenix, who’s trending as a strong contender in the Oscars' upcoming Best Actor race.

The Reporter also noted that when Phillips met with Warner Chairman Toby Emmerich in October, he proposed creating more DC films and walked away with the rights to make at least one, with himself and screenwriter Scott Silver taking the reins on narrative again.

Social media users were already touting a sequel before Phillips expressed his interest publicly -- creating marketing stills that looked like the move had already been greenlit.

NETFLIX'S MOST POPULAR: 'STRANGER THINGS,' 'MURDER MYSTERY' TOP 2019

Either way, the movie continues to rake in money and has already turned a $940 million profit. It’s only the fourth DC title to pass $1 billion, too, ranking just behind 2018’s "Aquaman" at $1.15 billion. As for Phillips, he’s said to have earned more than $100 million for the hit.

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And he’s optimistic about the movie’s future: “I’ve been around the world with [it],” he said at Deadline’s The Contenders New York, “and, speaking to the audiences, some people see it as an indictment of America and other people see it as a mirror for what’s going on in their country, both with the lack of compassion and with the wealth and equality issues.”

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