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Joker's First Cut Was Over 30 Minutes Longer

Joker Smile Cover

There is a large portion of the Joker movie that was cut during the editing process, as director Todd Phillips reveals there is over 30 minutes worth of footage that was removed from the film. Joker is shaping up to be one of the most controversial movies of 2019 and has already sparked a backlash due to its content, despite the fact that it hasn't even been released yet.

Joker is a departure from the recent movies based on DC Comics properties and it's intended to be a standalone film, with no connection to the established DCEU. The lack of a connection to the Batman movie franchise has allowed Joker to be an R-rated film that deals with violent content that wouldn't normally be seen in a DC movie. The intention with Joker is for DC to try and upstage the MCU in a different way, as the dark content and extreme violence is something Disney would never allow. It's possible the gambit will pay off for Warner Bros., as there is already Oscar buzz surrounding Joaquin Phoenix for his performance as the Joker.

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Related: Why Joker Is Facing Backlash Despite The Great Reviews

Joker underwent changes during the production process, which was partly inspired by the script being leaked online. Phillips hinted Joker was changed in response to the leak, so it should come as no surprise that a lot of footage has been left over. At a recent Q&A with Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix attended by Screen Rant after an early screening of Joker, Phillips revealed that a fifth of the movie was cut during the editing process. When Phoenix was asked whether he'd seen the film, Phillips stepped in to answer:

It’s a hard question to answer. He came over my house and watched the movie. Because there are so many cuts. I mean, the first cut of this movie was 2 hours and 35 minutes. He saw that, then he came back. Right now it's 2 hours and 2 minutes, I think, with credits. so you have to ask him.

Joaquin Phoenix stars in Joker

Phillips never specified whether the extra footage from Joker was cut due to it being unnecessary or because of a runtime mandate, which some studios insist upon, as was the case with Justice League. Warner Bros. requested a two-hour runtime for Justice Leaguewhich led to a lot of footage being left on the cutting room floor. The reason for these timing mandates is due to money, as a film's length will determine how many showings it can have in a single day. It's possible that Warner Bros. made the same request for Joker.

If Joker had its runtime reduced due to studio mandate, then it's possible that the cut footage from Joker will make its way onto a future home release of the movie. Phillips spent a year convincing Warner Bros. to make Joker R-rated, which meant that he had more freedom than most comic book movie directors to tell the kind of story that would befit the greatest Batman villain of all time. The only question now is what kind of content merited being removed from a film that is already being touted as one of the darkest comic book movies of all time.

Next: The Joker Movie Might Actually Win Best Picture

Key Release Dates
  • Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019
  • Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) release date: Feb 07, 2020
  • Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
  • The Batman (2021) release date: Jun 25, 2021
  • The Suicide Squad (2021) release date: Aug 06, 2021
  • DC Super Pets (2022) release date: May 20, 2022
  • Aquaman 2 (2022) release date: Dec 16, 2022
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