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During its presentation at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, Warner Bros. showcased a preview of its highly anticipated sequel to Joker, entitled Joker: Folie A Deux. This event provided the studio an opportunity to outline its strategy for capitalizing on the prior year’s blockbuster success, particularly following Barbie’s remarkable performance.

In addition to Joker, Warner Bros. also presented footage from the eagerly awaited sequel to the 1980s classic Beetlejuice and highlighted a new sci-fi project from Parasite director Bong Joon-ho, featuring Robert Pattinson. The focal point of the presentation was Joker: Folie A Deux, directed by Todd Phillips. This sequel continues the narrative of the controversial original film, which earned Joaquin Phoenix an Oscar and redefined the boundaries of superhero adaptations. The original Joker film, released in 2019, provided a somber, R-rated origin story for Batman’s arch-nemesis Arthur Fleck, and it divided audiences with its portrayal of the homicidal villain as a sympathetic character. The sequel, which is set to be released in October, has generated considerable buzz, especially with the addition of Lady Gaga to the cast, and is described as a musical.

In his introduction of the new trailer, Phillips described the sequel as “a movie where music is an essential element,” maintaining a thematic continuity with the first film. He elaborated on the protagonist Arthur’s character, highlighting his unique blend of awkwardness and musicality, which informed much of the first film’s dance sequences. This approach to the sequel, according to Phillips, represents a natural progression rather than a departure from the original’s essence.

The trailer presented at CinemaCon revealed intriguing scenes, including the first meeting between Phoenix’s Joker and Lady Gaga’s Harley Quinn in an asylum, followed by their collaborative escape. It also featured dreamlike sequences of the duo dancing on a moonlit rooftop in Gotham and performing an elaborate stage show, with the Joker acknowledging his newfound companionship in a poignant moment. Phillips also expressed gratitude towards cinema owners for their support of the first Joker film amid controversies in 2019, which ultimately led to its box office success, grossing over $1 billion. CinemaCon serves as a vital platform for Hollywood studios to showcase their upcoming releases to theater owners globally. This year’s event occurs amidst a challenging time for the industry, with predictions of a global box office decline, partly due to the repercussions of recent industry-wide strikes.

Warner Bros.’ presentation also highlighted other major upcoming releases, including George Miller’s Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, M. Night Shyamalan’s horror film Trap, and Kevin Costner’s ambitious Western saga Horizon. Costner’s project, in particular, promises a gritty portrayal of 19th-century American settlers, without shying away from the historical realities of their impact on indigenous populations. Additionally, the event featured a preview of Beetlejuice Beetlejuice, a sequel to the beloved Beetlejuice film, described by director Tim Burton as a “weird family reunion.” Korean director Bong Joon-ho also took the stage to promote his first film since Parasite, the comedic sci-fi Mickey 17, starring Robert Pattinson in a role that involves multiple characters, set to release in January.

With AFP

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