Yes, Joker 2 is indeed in the works at Warner Bros. and original director Todd Phillips is coming back. Whether or not Phillips stays in the director's chair remains to be seen but it has been revealed that he has at least closed a deal to co-write the screenplay for the sequel. Presumably, Joaquin Phoenix would return to reprise his role as the iconic DC villain.
A recent report took a look at some of Hollywood's biggest power players. Specifically, attorneys working in the industry. In a section looking at Warren Stern, who counts Todd Phillips as a client, it was confirmed that the filmmaker has "struck a deal to co-write the next Joke r installment." It had previously been revealed that Warner Bros. was exploring a sequel and discussions had taken place but, last we heard, no contracts had been signed. It appears that has changed, at least to the degree that a script is being worked on. Whether or not it moves any further than that remains to be seen.
That having been said, it would make every bit of business sense for the studio to pursue a sequel of some kind. Joker, released in 2019, became a massive hit, far bigger than anyone expected it to be. Produced for a reported budget of just $55 million, a fraction of what most comic book movies cost, it earned a staggering $1.07 billion at the global box office. That is especially impressive considering that the movie carried an R-rating.
While the DC Comics adaptation was controversial and a bit divisive, it was met with quite a bit of acclaim as well. It ultimately went on to earn several Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture. Joaquin Phoenix ended up taking home the Best Actor Oscar for his work as Arthur Fleck, a man who goes on to become the famed comic book villain.
For the time being, potential story details for Joker 2 remain entirely under wraps. The first movie certainly left off in a place that left room for a continuation. But it truly depends on whether or not Joaquin Phoenix would sign on the dotted line. The actor has expressed his willingness to return under the right circumstances, though it is dependent on the story. Warner Bros. would also likely have to cut a pretty sizable paycheck, considering how much money the first movie earned.
To potentially further complicate matters, AT&T recently announced plans to spin off WarnerMedia, the parent company of Warner Bros., in a merger with Discovery. Out of this massive media merger will emerge an entirely new company. While that deal likely won't be wrapped up until next year sometime, the new brass at this new company will certainly have an agenda. And the DC universe is one of the crown jewels of the WarnerMedia empire. But a virtually guaranteed hit such as Joker 2 would almost certainly be in no danger of getting the ax regardless of what happens in the coming months with the merger. We'll be sure to keep you posted as further details are made available. This news comes to us via The Hollywood Reporter.