We are officially three days away from Todd Phillips’s and DC’s Joker making its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, where it is playing in competition for the prestigious Golden Lion. Soon thereafter, it will screen at the Toronto International Film Festival, where lead actor Joaquin Phoenix is set to receive the fest’s first-ever Best Actor award, then finally, the film will make its US debut at the New York Film Festival. Make no mistake, this is a film that is being pushed hard as a potential awards player and overall Huge F*cking Deal. Playing the three major Fall festival is a rarity in and of itself, but for it to happen to a comic book movie is unprecedented. So, with only a few days to go until critics get their hands on it, the final trailer for Joker dropped.
I must admit, I’ve actually been quite impressed with the marketing and rollout Joker has received so far (although this trailer is nowhere near as good as that first one). Warner Bros. is, if nothing else, great at building up hype for their titles. They want this thing to reach audiences in a way comic book movies typically don’t, and they are not shy about letting the world know they believe they have something special in their hands.
The big roadblock for Joker is the story, which is totally unconnected to any Batman or DC mythos and could be tough to market without audiences feeling tricked. It also doesn’t help that this is the kind of story that could go all ahem… Reddit friendly, to put it mildly? If it really wants Oscar gold, it’s going to need to overcome that skepticism, and make a lot of money, and win over those industry figures who don’t think this sort of movie has any place in awards season and avoid so many hot takes. But come on, this movie is going to be hot takes central.
What Joker can do is put the spotlight once more on Joaquin Phoenix. He’s already got enough praise as an actor to keep him going, plus three Oscar nominations and a Grammy (seriously, he has a Grammy). He’s not one to do the Oscar campaigning spiel, but he has been remarkably comfortable and enthusiastic about promoting this movie. There’s a solid awards narrative there (he lost 53 pounds for the role, he’s playing a pop culture icon, he’s never won before, he’s famously committed to his work, etc).
But still, oh god the Joker discourse is going to be A LOT!
Joker officially opens in US theaters October 4.
Header Image Source: YouTube // Warner Bros.