Joker is expected to bring $82 million during its opening weekend, which would break the October record set by Venom, a masterpiece. The Todd Phillips-directed film is also projected to set the all-time mark for the Comic Book Movie With the Most Stages of Backlash. There was the initial backlash over the mere idea of a Joker solo movie; then the backlash to the backlash when Joaquin Phoenix, an Oscar-nominated actor, was cast; then it won the prestigious Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival, where it premiered and got an eight-minute standing ovation, causing an existential crisis among some critics; then… I’m not sure how we get here, but now Warner Bros. has to publicly state that Joker is not “an endorsement of real-world violence of any kind” and the director is blaming the “far left” over the discourse (you know it’s serious when “discourse,” instead of “conversation” or “discussion,” is used) surrounding the film.
“I think it’s because outrage is a commodity, I think it’s something that has been a commodity for a while,” Phillips told the Wrap. “What’s outstanding to me in this discourse in this movie is how easily the far left can sound like the far right when it suits their agenda. It’s really been eye-opening for me.” When asked about the criticisms that the movie (which, it should be noted, most people haven’t seen) glories violence, the filmmaker said, “I literally described to Joaquin at one point in those three months as like, ‘Look at this as a way to sneak a real movie in the studio system under the guise of a comic book film.’ It wasn’t, ‘We want to glorify this behavior.’ It was literally like, ‘Let’s make a real movie with a real budget and we’ll call it f*cking Joker.’ That’s what it was.”
The impending release of Joker — the “perfect movie for 2019,” for better or worse — has also led to theater chains clarifying that “we do not believe the content or the existence of any movie is a cause or a signal for violence” and banning costumes. “We are not allowing costumes, face painting, or masks by either our employees or guests,” Landmark CEO Ted Mundorff told TMZ. But what if you’re dressed like Cesar Romero?
JOAQUIN PHOENIX: “I will lose 50 pounds to play The Joker. I will transform my body and mind to fully inhabit this character.”
CESAR ROMERO: “lol dude it’s a fucken mean clown, I wouldn’t even shave my mustache for this.” pic.twitter.com/8ZiCQ5hYmB
— Andrew Bridgman (@bridgmandrew) September 3, 2019
Joker opens on October 4.