Warner Bros. is reportedly quite serious about getting Joaquin Phoenix back, not only for Joker 2, but for another sequel as well, which would complete a trilogy. Joker arrived last year and became an unexpectedly huge hit both critically and commercially, controversial though it may have been. As such, the studio seems intent on getting Phoenix back under the makeup for another go as the DC villain. As incentive, they are said to be offering him a boatload of cash.

According to a new report, Joaquin Phoenix is being offered $50 million to return for Joker 2 and 3. Warner Bros. is said to be hopeful that the movies could be ready to go in 2022 and 2024, respectively. This comes after Phoenix took home the Best Actor Oscar earlier this year at the Academy Awards, capping off a huge awards season run. Plus, Joker took in more than $1 billion at the box office, making it hugely profitable, given its relatively small budget. An unnamed insider had this to say about it.

RELATED: More DC Elseworlds Movies Like Joker Will Happen If Strong Pitches Are Delivered
"Joaquin initially felt Joker was a standalone movie. But he's changed his tune now. He says he wants to play this character again, despite the controversies that came with the release last year. It's still being negotiated but the scripts are being written and Joaquin is very engaged with it."

Indeed, both Joaquin Phoenix and director Todd Phillips had initially thought of this as a standalone, one-off project. But the success of the R-rated DC Comics adaptation has made it impossible for Warner Bros. not to pursue a franchise play. To that point, they are said to be looking to lock down a long-term commitment with the entire filmmaking team.

"They plan to make two sequels in the next four years, with a long-term commitment to Joaquin and his Joker director Todd Phillips and producer Bradley Cooper. It's all about getting Joaquin to accept the terms, and the biggest payday of his career by far."

Bradley Cooper was a producer on Joker, which wasn't hugely advertised despite his A-list status. Though much was made of Martin Scorsese's possible involvement. The idea is to keep the same team together. Don't fix what isn't broken. But Joaquin Phoenix would need to sign on the dotted line and make a huge commitment, which is something the actor was previously hesitant to do. Phoenix was in the running for Marvel's Doctor Strange several years back before Benedict Cumberbatch signed on for the role.

It had previously been revealed that Warner Bros. was in the early stages of developing a sequel. While talks have taken place, nobody had signed any deals for a follow-up. With uncertainty looming in the theatrical marketplace, sure bets are going to become more important than ever. While Joker 3 may be getting a bit ahead of things, Joker 2 seems as rock-solid as anything could be. We'll be sure to keep you posted as any further details are made available. This news comes to us via Mirror.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott