Todd Phillips Opens Up About His DC Black Label Pitch
The director finally acknowledged that he did indeed pitch the concept to Warner Bros.
Joker is now a humongous box office success, taking in over $1.035 billion globally on a measly $55 million budget, and beating The Dark Knight to become the 37th highest grossing movie of all time. Naturally, its success would have inspired Warner Bros. to consider more such movies. Whether or not it did, it certainly inspired Todd Phillips to open up about his DC Black Pitch.
In a lengthy chat with Deadline, Phillips spoke about the pitch he made to Warner Bros. about a new label of films termed DC Black. The idea would be to keep them separate from the ongoing films set in the DCEU, thereby giving them some levity in terms of interpreting characters in an alternate setting. This parallel take would be inspired by the gritty, independent films of the 80s from the likes of Martin Scorcese and could be standalone one-off adventures. Here’s what he said:
I went to Warners because I knew that there would be concerns about, how do you separate it from the movies that they were making? I knew they were going to go, ‘We’re going to confuse the audience if you have this Joker out there in these movies, and then you’re doing this whole other thing.’ So my pitch to them was actually to start a label, which was a little aggressive, I’ll admit, in hindsight.
The idea of a new label was certainly ambitious. Perhaps too ambitious for the folks at Warner at well who balked at the idea and suggested Phillips focus on this first movie and they then see where things go. Phillips further said in his take on the matter:
I said, ‘This will be the first movie, and then we’ll get this director to do that, and this director to do this, and we’ll call it DC Black, and Joker will be the first film. In a weird way, it gives you two bites of the apple, of these characters. You can do these kind of down-and-dirty character studies over here, and still do the DC Universe over there. To which they said, ‘Okay, calm down, you’re not starting a label here at Warners, but this is interesting. Go write this and tell us what you’re thinking.
In all earnestness, the report of Phillips pitching a DC Black Label is many months old now. There have been persistent rumors that Joker was supposed to be the first in this new series of films that would stand by themselves instead of being tied to the larger universe. It’s just nice to see Phillips coming out and finally confirming that such a pitch did indeed happen.
Speaking of future movies, it’s highly unknown at this point what other characters could be considered getting a shot at their own origin stories. It’s also dubious at this point whether a Joker 2 will happen or not. Warner Bros. would probably be all in on at least a few more attempts but we’ll need to wait and see how it all pans out.