STACK‘s Gill Pringle is on the ground at CinemaCon 2019 to bring you all the highlights…

“Like most of you, I have a sick and twisted relationship with Las Vegas,” a wry Todd Phillips told the crowd at the annual theatre owners’ convention, CinemaCon, held in Vegas.

Phillips’ relationship may be more twisted than most, having launched his huge trilogy, The Hangover, in Vegas – and with that, setting one Bradley Cooper on the path to fame and fortune.

But Phillips returns to Vegas for a seriously sick and twisted reason – to introduce his new take on The Joker, Joaquin Phoenix following in the footsteps of Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger and Jared Let for this stand-alone movie, known only as “Joker”.

“Unlike most of you, I actually lived in this hotel for three months then years ago while making The Hangover,” he tells an audience who make the annual pilgrimage for a mere four days.

“I literally lived here – I got my mail here, in what I still refer to as my ‘lost weekend’,” he says.

“There isn’t anything much that I would be comfortable sharing other than: avoid room 3952.

Joker

After showing a two-minute sizzler reel, which is clearly The Joker’s origin story, he says, “I don’t have too much to say about the movie because it’s still taking shape, but also because I want it to be a surprise. And there’s been a lot of chatter about what this film is and isn’t, most of which hasn’t been very accurate, but I wanted to make an origin story about a beloved character that basically has no definitive origin.

“When the marketing department at Warners asked me the other day to describe the movie, I said: I can’t. They said, ‘Well, at least tell us the genre’. And I thought about it for a minute and I said, ‘It’s a tragedy’. And I think if the brilliant Joaquin Phoenix was here with me, he would agree.”

If Phillips claims his movie is still taking shape, then its release date is fixed for October 4.

It’s a busy time for the DC Extended Universe, with David F. Sandberg’s Shazam! released this week, followed by the upcoming releases of Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 1984, Matt Reeves’ The Batman, James Gunn’s Suicide Squad and Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).