We all joked that the proverbial "dump truck full of money" would be enough to even sway and 'actor's actor' like Joaquin Phoenix into doing a Joker sequel – but is that what he actually got to return for Todd Phillips' sequel? A new report claims to reveal exactly how much Phoenix is getting paid for Joker 2 – and it is hefty. According to the report, Joaquin Phoenix is currently poised to jump from a $4.5 million salary for the first Joker movie to a $20 million salary for Joker 2!
Variety was doing a profile on the Hollywood star currently pulling in big bank for their films – and naturally Joaquin Phoenix's $20 million payday for Joker 2 had to be mentioned:
"The same holds true for Joaquin Phoenix. When he first portrayed Gotham's most infamous villain in 2019's "Joker," Phoenix earned $4.5 million. The film went on to earn more than $1 billion and landed the actor an Oscar. If Warner Bros. is going to get Phoenix back in clown makeup, it will cost the studio $20 million."
While the salary sounds massive, it actually makes sense for Joaquin Phoenix to command that sort of payday for Joker 2 – and certainly fits in line with previous rumors about behind-the-scenes negotiations for the sequel.
The first film was made on the the budget of a modest independent movie (60-70 million) before going on to take in $1.074 billion worldwide – almost exclusively on the strength of Phoenix's tour-de-force performance. In fact, if the profits from Joker weren't enough, Phoenix also has the leverage point of pointing to the Best Actor Oscar he won for Joker as the ultimate argument for him to command a much higher payday for a sequel in a genre (comic book movies) he was never overly enthusiastic to play in from the start. Since Phoenix is one of the few actors who never really revisits franchises or role he's done, this is indeed a big ask. Then again, Phoenix is also now a dad, having had his first child (son River, named after his late brother) with actress and fiancee Rooney Mara. That blockbuster franchise money hits a lot different when there are babies involved...
So far, Todd Phillips has only revealed a script for Joker 2 with "Folie a Deux" as the title – referring to a state of madness or delusion shared by more than one person. Further rumors have pointed to Lady Gaga taking on a Harley Quinn role in the sequel, which is rumored to be a twisted love story musical. No release date has been set.