The movie proved to be a critical and commercial success as fans flocked to see a fresh incarnation of the most famous villain in comic book history.
Directed by Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix, the latter won the Oscar for Best Actor for his performance as Arthur Fleck, whose fight against poverty and the elite of Gotham City saw him develop into the Joker.
On a budget of $70 million, it earned an astonishing $1bn at the box office.
Fincher, who has directed movies like Fight Club, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl and Se7en, has slammed Joker for its depiction of mental disorders.
"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.
"I don't think anyone would have looked at that material and thought, 'Yeah, let's take Travis Bickle and Rupert Pupkin and conflate them, then trap him in a betrayal of the mentally ill, and trot it out for a billion dollars.'
"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. But I cannot imagine that movie would have been released had it been 1999."
Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a clown-for-hire and aspiring stand-up comedian, slowly develops violent and psychopathic tendencies as he deals with the rich-poor divide in Gotham City as well as his overbearing mother. Fleck's emergence as the Joker inspires others to rise up against the wealthy, with fatal consequences.
Studios only care about billion-dollar epics
In the same interview, Fincher went on to slam the 'big five' studios in Hollywood as they are now only interested in movies which can gross them a billion dollars, as Joker did.
"The reality of our current situation is that the five families" — a Godfather reference — "don't want to make anything that can't make them a billion dollars," Fincher continued.
"None of them want to be in the medium-priced challenging content business. And that cleaves off exactly the kind of movies I make. 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. Those are the kinds of movies that would have been dead on arrival five years ago."
Fincher went on to reveal that the only reason, in his opinion, that Gone Girl was made is that it was a New York Times bestseller and had a ready-made audience.
Crime / Drama
2019 • 122 minutes