JOKER: Warner Bros. Boss Toby Emmerich Went To Great Lengths To Stop The Film From Being Made

Joker was a $1 billion hit for WB, but Toby Emmerich went to great lengths to stop the DC Comics adaptation from being made, going so far as to drop the budget in an effort to deter Todd Phillips!

With so much uncertainty heading into the New Year, it's no great surprise that Warner Bros. is doing what they can to monetize a slate many have described as underwhelming. Sending all of the films to HBO Max should at least generate new subscribers for the platform, and save the studio from an embarrassing string of box office disappointments as noteworthy as Tenet

An expose from The Hollywood Reporter sheds more light on what's been happening at the studio over the past year or so, with the most shocking revelation relating to DC's Joker.

The trade believes the film would have been a top candidate to debut on HBO Max had the platform existed at the time. Toby Emmerich, the current chairman of the Warner Bros. Pictures Group, was not on board with Joker, while recently pushed out worldwide marketing president Blair Rich was said to be its greatest defender. 

"Emmerich lowballed on the budget to discourage director Todd Phillips from making it, and when the filmmaker persisted, sold off half the movie," it's explained. "Joker then became a cultural phenomenon that grossed more than a billion dollars worldwide, was honored with 11 Academy Award nominations and an Oscar for Joaquin Phoenix."

The trade asks, "Would any of that have happened had Joker been dropped onto HBO Max?"

It's a valid question, and one which could signal some serious issues at the studio. Filmmaker are unhappy with plans to send that 2021 slate to streaming, and this may well be the beginning of the end for Warner Bros. They have a lot of valuable IPs, but if top tier talent chooses not to work with them and the studio continues to focus on its poorly received streaming platform...well, who knows.

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