“Joker” Director Reflects on The Movie’s $1 Billion Success

Joaquin Phoenix in "Joker"

Joker director Todd Phillips has reflected on the film’s global success and he does not think it’s down to Batman.

Previously, the Joker has only ever appeared in the context of being Batman’s nemesis. In Phillips’ adaptation of the comics, Batman does not yet exist. Instead, the film focuses solely on Joker’s origin story and how society let the broken man down.

The feature became the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time when it exceeded grossing of $1 billion at the box office. When asked whether the film’s connection to Batman is the reason Joker was such a hit, however, Phillips denies that this is the case.

“I think it was more than that,” he told Deadline. “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.”

In relation to the power of the script, Phillips added: “The thing [script 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.”

Joker will be released on DVD next Tuesday (January 7).