Instead, I stayed home and wrote this.
I didn’t see It: Chapter Two because: a) I’m not interested; I already know clowns are disgusting and evil, and b) not having seen the first one, I’m afraid I’d feel lost. I didn’t see Joker because I’m a pathetic fanboy who is annoyed that this Joker isn’t THE Joker and, besides, if I want to see mindless violence I’d fly down to Texas and watch people shoot unarmed black boys who have the audacity to testify against a cop who murdered a peaceful civilian in his own apartment.
Even more to my alleged point: I am a man of my word, when it’s convenient and my memory is in gear. A couple months ago in this space I said I wasn’t going to see it because it was even less canonical than the other recent DC movies. If you’re going to create another Joker and pass it off as the real Joker, I might as well go see the It flicks. I did watch the Clara Bow version of It a couple months ago, but I digress. I might watch Joker on one of the streamers if I really want to check out Phoenix’s much-lauded performance, or if I want to see DeNiro thinking about his brilliant work as Rupert Pupkin.
But I have got to give credit where credit is due. That’s how I roll, folks. Fair is fair, and I feel bound to state that Warner Bros. pulled off the promotion event of the year.
Initially, Joker was expected to come in second to It:Two. According to the trades, Joker opened at $93,500,000 and should easily beat It:Two when the last shekels drop into the California coffers. Joker’s big win did not seem like it was in the cards until movie theaters told the press they were banning masks and capes from their screenings and hiring extra security guards, and in some places (hey, Mayor DeBlasio, it’s nice to see you found something else to do!) the local police department assigned a few badges-and-pistols to help jack up Warners’ profits.
In this space last week I babbled endlessly about how we didn’t see this sort of reaction to all sorts of earlier R-rated violentish flicks, including It:Two. Why Joker?
To update Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand,” the marketplace works best when left alone. I’m not a caveat emptor fan, and I will note that the invisible hand can be nudged by mind-controlling promotion campaigns – my more conservative friends will say that’s part of the free market; whatever – by not responding to the mass-hysteria generated by such campaigns.
So, my hat’s off to the folks in beautiful downtown Burbank for, well, it seems like for doing nothing at all. And, damn, they’re very good at that!
Yeah, sure. Call me cynical. Just remember: I didn’t make Joker. If I had the $55,000,000 budget Warners put on this movie (yup; the movie became profitable within two days of opening), I might have made this movie, but… probably not. However, seeing that most major studio superhero movies cost three to five times that amount, I do foresee a massive spreadsheet search-and-destroy mission, starting right now. Less money spent in production means more money for the studio executives.
Adam Smith didn’t say that; I did. The thought of spending $55 million on a bloodthirsty movie about a failed comedian turned dapper clown would have fried his brain.