After the huge success of the first film, Joaquin Phoenix’s salary in “Joker 2” should increase significantly. Written and directed by Todd Phillips, the first Joker movie in 2019 introduced viewers to Arthur Fleck from Phoenix, a mentally retarded aspiring comedian living in Gotham City. “The Joker” became a hit with both audiences and critics and became the first R-rated film to gross more than $1 billion, in addition to Phoenix winning the Oscar for Best Actor.
Shortly after the first film proved successful, it was announced that a sequel was in development, with both Phillips and Phoenix returning. Much is still unknown about the upcoming sequel, but Phillips previously shared the first page of the script on social networks, informing the working title of the film — “Joker: Folie à Deux”. The French title roughly translates as “madness shared by two”, hinting that another figure will occupy a prominent place in the film. Shortly after the title was made public, additional reports surfaced showing that Lady Gaga was not only in talks to join Joker 2 as Harley Quinn, but also that the film could become a musical.
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Due to the mega-success of the first film, a new Variety report claims that Warner Bros. can pay Phoenix up to $20 million to reprise his role in Joker 2. This will be a significant increase compared to the first film. It is said that after the actor earned $4.5 million for the original film, he negotiated a much higher payout for the sequel, putting him on par with the likes of Chris Hemsworth for “Evacuation 2” and Vin Diesel for “Fast and Furious X”.
Although this figure is a significant step forward compared to how much Phoenix was paid for the first Joker, a salary of $20 million has been pretty standard for major movie stars for some time. For example, Brad Pitt’s salary for Bullet Train was also $20 million, but new models of streaming services now allow big stars to ask for even more for an image. Given the huge box office success of the first “Joker,” which is estimated to cost between $55 million and $70 million, it is also likely that “Joker 2” will receive a significantly larger budget overall, in addition to Phoenix’s increased salary.
Although the production of “Joker 2” has not yet begun, Phoenix’s performance in the first film is considered one of the best in his career. The plot of “Joker 2” is still a big question, but the film will surely showcase more of Phoenix’s acting talent than ever before, especially when you consider that he will continue his Oscar-winning performance in the first film. While more details about “Joker 2” are sure to be revealed in the coming months, Phoenix’s new salary certainly indicates that Warner Bros. is betting that the movie will be as big a hit as the original.