Ever wondered why we’re seeing so many reboots, sequels and spin-off announcements? Well, according to director David Fincher (Gone Girl) it all comes down to the green stuff — money.
In fact, Fincher is of the strict belief that Joaquin Phoenix’s turn as Joker may never have been green-lit if it wasn’t for Heath Ledger’s stellar and money-making performance in The Dark Knight.
“Nobody would have thought they had a shot at a giant hit with Joker had The Dark Knight not been as massive as it was,” Fincher told The Telegraph in a new interview.
According to the acclaimed filmmaker, the movie, which won five awards (including Best Actor at the Oscars), didn’t “look like a superhero blockbuster” and that “Hollywood has no further interest in mid-tier films”.
“I’m sure that Warner Bros thought at a certain price, and with the right cast, and with De Niro coming along for the ride, it would be a possible double or triple,” he said. “But I cannot imagine that movie would have been released had it been 1999.”
But it wasn’t just the monetary aspect that Fincher took issue with. In fact, it was Joker’s battle with mental health that he thought would never have been turned into a film.
“I don’t think anyone would have looked at that material and thought, ‘Yeah, let’s take Travis Bickle [‘Taxi Driver’] and Rupert Pupkin [‘The King of Comedy’] and conflate them, then trap him in a betrayal of the mentally ill, and trot it out for a billion dollars’,” he added.
Fincher went on to say that streaming had changed the film industry and when making theatrical films explicitly for the big screen, a very different approach was now taken. Only the huge blockbusters were worth putting up there.
“What the streamers are doing is providing a platform for the kind of cinema that actually reflects our culture and wrestles with big ideas: where things are, what people are anxious and unsure about,” he said before adding that those were the types of movies that would have been “dead on arrival five years ago”.
Joker went on to earn more than $1 billion at the box office — with an R-rating — and dominated the Oscars with 11 nominations and two wins.