While many would argue that it’s generally overshadowed by its Marvel counterpart, it’d be a mistake to simply dismiss the DC Extended Universe. Though it might not boast the same level of success as Disney’s never-ending series of films, it’s still grossed well over $5 billion across 7 movies, which is nothing to scoff at. And with Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman 1984, and The Batman in the works, it looks like Warner Bros. Pictures may have finally found a stable foundation upon which to build a successful shared universe.
Though it might not be part of the DCEU proper, the upcoming standalone Joker film is shaping up to be something special, if early reactions are anything to go by. In fact, director Todd Phillips seems keen on taking on Marvel. As reported by Cosmic Book News, Phillips pitched his newest film to Warner Bros. execs, suggesting that the studio begin a new division of movies under the “DC Black” label, to separate it from the already-established DCEU.
To be honest, Todd’s idea doesn’t sound all that bad. As he’s pointed out himself, Warner Bros.’ films have lived under the shadow of the MCU, making it harder and harder to compete with Disney’s trove of characters and an endless supply of money. Instead, he’s proposing that the studio focus on character-driven projects with smaller budgets and less CGI, which would certainly separate themselves from Marvel’s green screen-centric efforts.
“I said ‘Let JOKER be the first, then let’s get f-cking great filmmakers to come in.’ Instead of trying to live in the shadow of the beast (MCU), let’s do something they can’t – $30 million budgets, no CGI hoopla. Let’s strip that all away. It’ll be liberating.”
Disney themselves have admitted that mega-blockbusters such as Avengers: Endgame, while successful at the box office, don’t translate into profit as well as we might think, due to the cost-structure associated with advertising, post-production, and actor salaries. As much as we enjoy special effects, we’re very curious to see how Todd Phillips’ more grounded take on Joker turns out. We’re doubtful that Warner Bros. will ever be able to eclipse Marvel financially, but the studio could very well carve out their own space in the crowded superhero genre.