‘Joker 2’ will have a budget almost three times bigger than the original

Image via Warner Bros.

In true Hollywood fashion, the sequel to the incredibly successful 2019 Joker film, Joker: Folie à Deux, will go bigger and (hopefully) better. The sequel will see the return of Joaquin Phoenix’s fantastic portrayal of Arthur Fleck, aka Joker, and also introduce Lady Gaga as the Joker’s iconic paramour, Harley Quinn. Fans are already buzzing over the film’s announcement and it would seem that DC is really going to be giving it their all, with a budget three times bigger than the original.

2019’s Joker, an interpretation of the famous unhinged clown’s origin, cost a mere $55 million to make, which is chump change when it comes to superhero (DC or Marvel) offerings. However, the commercial success of the film saw over $1 billion at the box office, the first R-rated film to do so. If you compare this to DC’s Justice League, one of the most expensive films ever made at $300 million, which only brought in just over $650 million resulting in a loss for Warner Bros of around $60 million, it proves that money does not mean everything.

Now Joker: Folie à Deux is getting a bigger budget thanks to its predecessor’s commercial and critical success, with lead actor Phoenix getting a substantial pay rise. Phoenix was paid $4.5 million for his lead role in the first film, one that saw him win Best Actor at the 2020 Academy Awards. The upcoming sequel will see the actor receive almost five times his previous salary, $20 million, for his return to the role.

Director Todd Phillips took a great risk on the first film, which he directed, produced, and co-wrote, forgoing his upfront salary, and instead negotiating a larger percentage of the box office earnings. It was a risk that paid off and Phillips is reported to have made $147 million thanks to the film’s success. Coming into the sequel the director will this time receive a salary of $20 million, the same as Phoenix. Lady Gaga is also reported to be making $10 million for her role as Harley Quinn.

The film overall is receiving a higher budget as well thanks to the music angle that will be added. The more complicated musical numbers (with an insider telling Variety that Joker 2 is more like A Star Is Born than In the Heights) push the budget to a little higher, though still reasonable, $150 million.

Compared to most superhero movies, this larger budget is still on the tame side. With a budget three times larger than their original, fans will wonder what to expect from the upcoming sequel. With the first film such a huge success, it’s hard to imagine just how the sequel will top it, but hopefully, in this case, bigger does mean better.