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Wow, Apparently Joaquin Phoenix And Lady Gaga’s Joker 2 Will Cost A Lot More Than The First Movie

Joaquin Phoenix as clowned-up Arthur Fleck in Joker
(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

The Joker will soon be returning to the big screen, and I’m not talking about Jared Leto’s version of The Clown Prince of Crime from the DC Extended Universe. In 2019, Joaquin Phoenix starred as a more grounded take on Batman’s arch-nemesis named Arthur Fleck in Joker, which was met with positive critical reception and became the first R-rated movie to cross $1 billion. Joker 2, a.k.a Joker: Folie à Deux, is now making steady progress forward, and apparently the sequel that will see Phoenix performing opposite Lady Gaga will cost a lot more than its predecessor.

We already knew that Joaquin Phoenix is reportedly getting a bigger payday for Joker 2 to the tune of $20 million, a sharp increase from the $4.5 million he received for Joker. According to a new report from Variety, director and co-writer Todd Phillips, who announced the Joker: Folie à Deux in early June, is also getting paid $20 million, while Lady Gaga is getting $10 million. Those salaries combined with, as the outlet put it, “the cost of producing complicated musical sequences,” will result in Joker 2’s production budget adding up to roughly $150 million. However, it was also mentioned that these musical sequences will be more in the vein of Gaga’s 2018 movie A Star is Born rather than something like 2021’s In the Heights.

When it comes to superhero movies, $150 million is more on the cheap side of things. For comparison, fellow DC movie The Batman had a production budget somewhere in the $185-200 million range, while Thor: Love and Thunder, the latest Marvel movie, reportedly cost $250 million to put together. Still, considering that Joker’s production budget fell somewhere between $55-70 million, the fact that Joker 2 has reportedly obtained double or nearly triple that number is a big deal, particularly since a third of this amount has just been allocated to the two leading actors and the filmmaker.

Although a bigger budget would indicate that Joker 2 will also be more of a spectacle than the first movie, it’s been reported that the sequel will primarily take place in Arkham Asylum, as opposed to follow Arthur Fleck around Gotham City like last time. This lines up not only with where we left off with the character at the end of Joker, but also the strong indication that Lady Gaga is playing Harley Quinn, though this still hasn’t been officially confirmed. There’s also been word that Zazie Beetz is in talks to reprise Sophie Dumond, Fleck’s neighbor. Like with Joker, Todd Phillips co-wrote Joker 2 with Scott Silver.

Joker 2 has been slated for October 4, 2024, basically five years after Joker hit theaters. Our guide of upcoming DC movies is available if you’re interested in learning what else is coming up in this corner of the superhero media space.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.