Increased wages and musical numbers spur rising costs.

Joker 2 is apparently getting a massive budget despite the studio's recent tax write-down. According to Variety, the upcoming sequel, Joker: Folie à Deux, could get as much as three times the original film’s budget.

Joker star Joaquin Phoenix as well as director Todd Phillips are thought to be getting a staggering $20 million each for the project, with Lady Gaga getting a $10 million payday for the upcoming film. Combined with the increased cost of complicated musical sequences, this means that Joker 2 will cost around $150 million to produce.

A hefty price tag considering the studio’s recent troubles.

At the moment, Joker 2 is the only DC project to be greenlit following the Warner Bros. Discovery merger, which saw Batgirl unceremoniously canceled. The reason for its cancellation? A tax write-down which was considered a safer bet than, you know, actually releasing the movie.

And that doesn’t sit well given Joker 2’s new, rather substantial budget.

Of course, that’s still a smaller budget than most superhero movies, making Joker 2 far more cost-effective than The Batman – DC’s recent Batman reboot starring Robert Pattinson. But it’s still far more than Warner Bros. Discovery was willing to set aside for Batgirl.

According to Variety, the idea of releasing smaller straight-to-streaming DC movies is now a thing of the past. Although this was the original vision for Batgirl, it looks as though Warner Bros. Discovery and its new leadership team have canned the idea.

Batgirl is no more, and while Blue Beetle was originally going to debut online, it’s now set for a theatrical release… if it releases at all.

Every DC Movie and Series Affected by the Warner Bros. Discovery Merger

joker 2 budget could be three times higher than original
joker 2 budget could be three times higher than original
joker 2 budget could be three times higher than original
joker 2 budget could be three times higher than original
joker 2 budget could be three times higher than original
joker 2 budget could be three times higher than original

It’s said this Blue Beetle, along with several James Gunn projects, are safe following the Batgirl cancellation, but fans are still nervous. After all, Warner Bros. Discovery continues to put money behind its big theatrical releases… and it wouldn’t be surprising to see other, smaller projects fall by the wayside.

At least, if Warner Bros. Discovery truly wants to replicate Marvel’s success.

Variety confirms that Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav is focused on finding his own Kevin Feige – a single executive to lead DC’s big screen efforts as part of the company’s 10-year plan.

Until that position is filled, it looks as though Warner Bros. Discovery faces even more uncertainty. At least, if you’re not making a Joker sequel.

Ryan Leston is an entertainment journalist and film critic for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.

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