This $1B Movie Only Cost $60M, but Its Upcoming Sequel's Ridiculously Pricey

This $1B Movie Only Cost $60M, but Its Upcoming Sequel's Ridiculously Pricey
Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures, Legion-Media

Joaquin Phoenix’s upcoming Joker: Folie à Deux tripled the original’s budget, jeopardizing the next installment’s chances for commercial success.


  • Todd Phillips’s first Joker had a budget of $55M and raked up over $1B at the box office.
  • Joker: Folie à Deux has a much bigger budget of $200M and, potentially, a huge issue.
  • Unlike the first installment, Joker 2 will be a musical, and this genre tends to underperform at the box office.

When it comes to Hollywood and box office, there’s a fine line separating a commercial success from a disastrous bomb. Despite the popular belief, it’s not so much about a movie’s quality as about its production budget, since a $120 haul means two different things for films that cost $50M or $150M to make.

Todd Phillips didn’t just cross that line; admittedly, he yeeted himself a mile over it.

Joker 2 Rakes Up an Bizarrely Large Budget

The first Joker was positioned as an indie movie. “Don’t mind them,” it said, “It’s just a little unknown director Todd Phillips (Duh) and a little poor studio Warner Bros. (Duh 2: Electric Boogaloo).” Thanks to its modest and wise marketing, Joker managed to thrive on a budget of $55M and turned out to be nothing short of brilliant.

This $1B Movie Only Cost $60M, but Its Upcoming Sequel's Ridiculously Pricey - image 1

But after the first installment’s success, the next part, Joker: Folie à Deux, can't afford to pretend to be an indie movie anymore — or so they say. The production budget of the upcoming movie is more than triple the size of the original: Todd Phillips has around $200M to play around with, but it’s just as dangerous as it is enticing.

Because while Joker raked up more than $1B at the box office against its objectively modest budget, there are reasons to believe that Joker 2 won’t repeat its success.

Joker 2 Will Have It Harder Than The Original

This $1B Movie Only Cost $60M, but Its Upcoming Sequel's Ridiculously Pricey - image 2

While the core elements of Joker’s success — director Todd Phillips and lead star Joaquin Phoenix — are still there in Joker: Folie à Deux, another aspect is missing entirely. Unlike the first installment, the upcoming movie will have a genre all too unfamiliar to the general audience — it will be a musical, of all things.

Musicals tend to have it much harder at the box office, with a few notable exceptions. The genre’s specifics repel a large chunk of the audience, and in the case of Joker 2 and its bizarrely overblown budget, this might mean the difference between success and failure.

Millions are waiting for Joaquin Phoenix’s next outing as the criminal prince of Gotham; but how many of them will actually buy tickets to a musical?

We’ll have to wait and see how Joker: Folie à Deux performs at the box office, but for now, it doesn’t seem like the best idea. Either the budget should have been more adequate, or the genre more common.

Will you watch Joker 2 at the theater?

Source: Variety