The original Joker, released in 2019, had a budget of $55-70 million, making it much, much lower than the typical several hundred million budgets for superhero movies. It went on to gross over $1 billion, making it the first R-rated film to do so.
Now, director Phillips and stars Joaquin Phoenix and Gaga alone will be making $50 million from the project, almost equalling the first film's entire budget. Lady Gaga is reportedly being paid $10 million, and Phoenix and Phillips are said to be each getting $20 million for working on the film.
Joker: Folie a Deux is an extremely ambitious project from Phillips. Not only is the film supposed to explore the chaotic and abusive relationship between Joker and Harley Quinn, but it's going to be a musical. According to an insider, "Joker 2 is more like A Star Is Born than In the Heights," and the cost of producing the complicated musical numbers has raised the budget to $150 million.
Phoenix won the Academy Award for Best Actor at the 2019 Oscars, opening the door for more Oscar nominations for this film. With Gaga - an Oscar winner for singing and nominee for acting - joining the cast, she could well be on her way to earning her first Oscar acting trophy. How wild would it be for Lady Gaga to win the Oscar for playing Harley Quinn in a musical?
This will be Gaga's third starring role in a film. She was nominated for an Oscar for her first, A Star Is Born, in 2018. Her second starring role, as Patrizia Reggiani in House of Gucci, earned her Critics Choice, Screen Actors Guild, BAFTA, and Golden Globe nominations.