Joker Movie 4K Steelbook Puts on a Happy Face

Best Buy has revealed a look at its exclusive Joker steelbook, offering the Todd Phillips-directed drama in 4K Ultra HD housed in collectible packaging.

A release date has yet to be announced for the two-disc set that includes a 4K disc and a Blu-ray disc. The special edition is now available for pre-order through Best Buy. The standard Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray are also up for pre-order via Best Buy and Amazon.

Joker steelbook Best Buy
(Photo: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment / Best Buy)

Cinematographer Lawrence Sher expects Joker’s home release to be faithful to its theatrical presentation.

“Whether the movie is viewed in 4K, HDR or low-fi, it should not in one version appear enhanced, but as just another deliverable,” he tells ICG Magazine. “The hardest thing for any filmmaker is probably, after seeing his or her movie in the theater, catching it streaming or on Blu-ray and wondering why it suddenly seems so garish. What happened to the colorspace?”

Shooting in 65mm and then 35mm was considered before Sher, fresh off Godzilla: King of the Monsters, convinced Phillips to shoot digitally, owing in part to better capture the performance of star Joaquin Phoenix.

“Joaquin’s performance was going to come out in some situations where one take would be all we’d get,” he said. “So shooting large-format in low light, pretty much wide-open on these lenses, we needed to know if we nailed it, and not have to wait a day for film to come back from L.A. – if there were technical issues with focus. With [the ARRI 65] a 40 millimeter or 60 millimeter can give you a medium-lens feel, but still show the field of view of a wider lens, conveying the psychological feeling of being closer to the actor. While the latent Arri 65 sensor is in 2.20 aspect ratio, we were still able to keep our 1.85 within that, using a five percent top and bottom blowup. 1.85 translates to something like a 5K or 5.4K image, and from there we finished in 4K.”

Director Todd Phillips Joker centers around the iconic arch nemesis and is an original, standalone fictional story not seen before on the big screen. Phillips’ exploration of Arthur Fleck, who is indelibly portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, is of a man struggling to find his way in Gotham’s fractured society. A clown-for-hire by day, he aspires to be a stand-up comic at night… but finds the joke always seems to be on him. Caught in a cyclical existence between apathy and cruelty, Arthur makes one bad decision that brings about a chain reaction of escalating events in this gritty character study.

Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy and Robert De Niro, Joker is now playing.

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