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Monday, June 24, 2024

‘Joker’ pairs up with Gaga as sequel hype hits CinemaCon

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Warner Bros. offered a glimpse of its eagerly anticipated Joker sequel at CinemaCon on Tuesday, as the Hollywood studio set out plans to build on the success of last year’s blockbuster Barbie.

Warner’s presentation at the Las Vegas movie summit also featured footage from a long-awaited follow-up to 1980s classic Beetlejuice, plus Robert Pattinson promoting a new sci-fi from Parasite director Bong Joon-ho.

But the focus was on Joker: Folie A Deux, Todd Phillips’ sequel to a controversial original that won an Oscar for its star Joaquin Phoenix, and reinvented what is possible for superhero adaptations.

The 2019 Joker offered a dark, R-rated origin story for Batman’s future nemesis Arthur Fleck, and polarized audiences by presenting its murderous villain as a hero, even prompting fears it could inspire mass shootings.

Rumors have swirled around the sequel – out in October – which adds Lady Gaga, one of the world’s biggest pop music stars, to its cast, and has been described as a musical.

Introducing a new trailer for the film, Phillips called his latest work “a movie where music is an essential element,” adding that it “doesn’t really veer too far from the first film” in that sense.

“Arthur is weird and aloof and distant, all these things, but he has music in him, he has a grace to him,” explained Phillips. That informed a lot of the dancing in the first film… so it didn’t seem like that big of a step, what we did here. It’s different but I think it’ll make sense once you see it,” he said.

The trailer showed Phoenix’s Joker meeting Lady Gaga’s Harley Quinn in an asylum before the two seemingly plot their escape.

Other dreamlike sequences featured the pair dancing romantically on a moonlit Gotham rooftop, and putting on an elaborate stage show.

“I’ll tell you what’s changed. I’m not alone anymore,” says the Joker, in one scene.

Phillips also thanked movie theater owners for standing by his first Joker film through controversy in 2019. It went on to gross more than $1 billion.

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