Warner Bros. isn't shying away from competition regarding the Todd Phillips directed Joker movie, as it's now been placed in a competition slot in the upcoming Venice Film Festival. The trailers have already garnered praise from fans, but internally it is gaining steam as well according to Venice Film Festival artistic chief Alberto Barbera. That's actually why the film is at the festival, as in the past the studio has opted to sit that out to grant more protection to its films, as they did with A Star Is Born. In the Joker's case though, Phillips wanted to go all in.
"Yes, as usual they said they wanted to be in a more protected situation," Barbera told Variety. "But then [director] Todd Phillips said: “I don’t care if I run the risk of not winning. Why shouldn’t I go in competition when I know what we’ve I’ve got on our hands?”
Barbera indicates the studio was convinced rather quickly and predicts that the film will continue its ascent after more people see the finished product. In fact, he even thinks the film will soar straight through to the Oscars.
"I have to say, Warners was convinced pretty rapidly, because it’s a really surprising film," Barbera said. "It’s the most surprising film we’ve got this year…This one’s going straight to the Oscars even though it’s gritty, dark, violent. It has amazing ambition and scope."
Phillips has stated this is not a Joker story based on the comics or the previous films and will be something very different than what some are expecting. If that can translate to box office, that would be a perfect way for DC and WB to close out the year for their superhero side, continuing the momentum and positive word of mouth from films like Aquaman and Shazam! and set the stage for their 2020 slate with films like Birds of Prey and Wonder Woman 1984. An Oscar would certainly be nice as well, but we'll have to wait and see if that actually happens.
Joker stars Phoenix (Arthur Fleck/Joker), Zazie Beetz (Sophie Dumond), Robert De Niro (Murray Franklin), Brett Cullen (Thomas Wayne), Frances Conroy (Penny Fleck), Marc Maron (Ted Marco), Douglas Hodge (Alfred Pennyworth), Josh Pais (Hoyt Vaughn), Bryan Tyree Henry, Bryan Callen, Shea Whigham, and Glen Fleshler. You can find the official description below.
"Drama. Joker centers around the iconic arch-nemesis and is an original, standalone story not seen before on the big screen. The exploration of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a man disregarded by society, is not only a gritty character study but also a broader cautionary tale."
Joker hits theaters on October 4th.