Warner Bros. Discovery is looking at Joker director Todd Phillips to be their answer to Kevin Feige as they want him to advise on future DC films.
Warner Bros. wants Joker director Todd Phillips to be DC Films’ Kevin Feige. While most famous for his raunchy comedies like Road Trip and The Hangover trilogy, the director stepped into the world of DC in 2019 Joker, which was both a tonal shift for the director and DC as the film was a mid-budget adult-oriented drama as opposed to an action movie. Joker paid off for Warner Bros. in a big way, grossing $1 billion worldwide and earning 11 Academy Awards nominations, including Best Director for Phillips and Best Picture, and walked away with two wins, Best Actor for Joaquin Phoenix and Best Original Score.
Ever since Joker, Warner Bros. has been trying to replicate the film’s success. Rumors have circulated that the studio has approached Philips and Phoenix for Joker 2, but no official announcement has been made regarding that front. With how much emphasis was put on Joker before its release about being a one-off film and Philips’s comments about superhero movies, Philips seemed unlikely to return to the DC well soon.
That is not stopping Warner Bros. from actively pursuing Phillips, as according to THR, Warner Bros. Discovery chief David Zaslav has approached Philips about advising on future DC film projects. It notes that Phillips would not serve in an executive capacity, but this is part of Zaslav’s plan to sort out DC, which remains a significant challenge and a high priority for Warner Bros. Discovery. While Phillips and Zaslav have developed a rapport, the report says that Phillips does not have a massive knowledge of the DC Universe.
Ever since the merger of Warner Bros. and Discovery, restructuring the DC projects on film and television has been a high priority for the studio and was in for a major overhaul. Warner Bros. canceled various DC projects like the Wonder Twins film for HBO Max and CW series like Batwoman, Legends of Tomorrow, and Naomi. Warner Bros. Discovery reportedly is frustrated with producer J.J. Abrams’s lack of progress on DC projects the producer is attached to, like the Zatanna movie and Constantine series on HBO Max.
Since the DCEU’s creation, they’ve had multiple individuals tasked with overseeing the projects creatively, originally Zack Snyder and then Geoff Johns and Jon Berg. In April, it was reported that Warner Bros. was looking for their own Kevin Feige figure for the DC brand while also wanting to make more singular vision films like The Batman and Joker, so it makes a certain amount of sense for them to approach Phillips on that front. However, Philips’s lack of knowledge of both the larger DC Universe as well as his previous comments about the genre may not be the best fit for the franchise going forward, as the thing Kevin Feige brings to the MCU is both an understanding and love of the material but also the logical sense of a producer to realize what will work for mainstream audiences.
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