Todd Phillips rejects Batman link to Joker's success

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 2 January 2020
Todd Phillips

Todd Phillips

Director Todd Phillips doesn't believe that the success of 'Joker' is due to the character's long association to Batman

Todd Phillips does not believe that the success of 'Joker' is related to the popularity of Batman.

The film, which provides an origin story for the DC Comics villain, has grossed over $1 billion at the global box office, however, director Todd doesn't feel that the success has been influenced by the character's link to the Caped Crusader.

Speaking to Deadline, he said: "I think it was more than that. I mean, I think there are themes in the movie that really resonated with people. None of us thought an R-rated movie could do over $1 billion across the world. But I think the themes in it really resonated."

The 49-year-old filmmaker – whose previous credits include 'The Hangover' trilogy – also suggested that the movie, which stars Joaquin Phoenix in the lead role, was inspired by events such as Donald Trump's election as US President.

The movie depicts Joaquin as Arthur Fleck, a mentally unstable comedian living in an impoverished Gotham City whose mind snaps when he can take no more of society's ills against him.

Todd said: "The thing (co-writer) Scott Silver and I set out to do when we wrote the movie together was to make something meaningful in that comic book space, but also something really that addressed what was going on in 2016, when we started writing.

"It's pretty obvious what was happening in 2017 whilst we were writing it, and really wanted to use Joker to make a movie about the loss of compassion and the lack of decorum in the world."

Todd also suggests that audiences around the world have recognised these themes.

He explained: "I've been around the world with this movie and, speaking to the audiences, some people see it as an indictment of America and other people see it as a mirror for what's going on in their country, both with the lack of compassion and with the wealth and equality issues."


  • 5 stars
  • 2019
  • US
  • 2h 2min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Todd Phillips
  • Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Zazie Beetz, Robert De Niro
  • UK release: 4 October 2019

Arthur Fleck (Phoenix) is an unsuccessful clown who wants to be a comedian, but he gradually turns to evil. This dizzying origin story about Batman’s nemesis is like an ode to 1970s New York City; Phoenix is astonishing and Phillips’s grave vision never swerves. Unmissable.

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