Warner Bros. Unveils Ambitious Slate Including ‘Joker: Folie à Deux’ and ‘Beetlejuice’ Sequel at CinemaCon

Warner Bros is not just idling after the triumphs of recent years; the legendary studio, soon celebrating its centennial, is eyeing a banner year in 2024. Its upcoming list of theatrical entries bristles with anticipated titles: ‘Furiosa,’ a new chapter in the Mad Max saga; Kevin Costner’s sprawling Western, ‘Horizon: An American Saga;’ the long-awaited return to the spooky world of ‘Beetlejuice;’ and ‘Joker: Folie à Deux,’ which transports Lady Gaga into Gotham’s turbulent narrative.

On a glitzy CinemaCon night in Las Vegas, where theater owners converge annually for their convention and trade show, Warner Bros. stepped up first to bedazzle the crowd. They came fully-equipped with a pantheon of stars—Kevin Costner, Michael Keaton, Robert Pattinson, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Chris Hemsworth—as well as a slew of trailers and sneak peeks to showcase.

The audience was treated to an early glimpse of ‘Joker: Folie à Deux,’ releasing October 4, by director Todd Phillips. The sequel, which sees the return of Joaquin Phoenix as the mercurial Arthur Fleck and introduces Gaga as Harley Quinn, stirred excitement. Phillips extended thanks to attendees for the first installment’s immense success.

Addressing speculation about the sequel’s genre, Phillips clarified that while music is crucial to the film, he hasn’t labeled it a musical per se. “It’s a movie where music is an essential element,” he stated, stressing a continuity with the original’s atmosphere.

Just a week after wrapping production, George Miller, paused to discuss ‘Furiosa,’ the prequel to 2015’s ‘Mad Max: Fury Road,’ which highlighted a younger version of the eponymous heroine. The original garnered over $300 million globally and clinched four Academy Awards. Through newly-revealed footage, Miller showcased a narrative about “one woman’s relentless commitment to impossible hope,” as stated by Taylor-Joy who stars alongside Hemsworth’s warlord character, Dementus.

The revered Kevin Costner vividly discussed his return to commanding both sides of the camera in ‘Horizon: An American Saga.’ In Costner’s conception, the two-part epic set amidst the Civil War explores the foundational promise of America—a land of potential fraught with adversity. The films are planned for a staggered summer release and will debut at Cannes.

The revival of ‘Beetlejuice Beetlejuice’ was met with palpable anticipation. Burton, along with the returning ensemble of Keaton, Ryder, and O’Hara, plus newcomers such as Jenna Ortega, dives back into the macabre yet quirky universe that captivated audiences in 1988. Burton mused on the connection to the character Lydia Deetz and the characters’ journey since, culminating in a “weird family reunion.”

A surprise treat was the unveiling of a trailer for Oscar-winner Bong Joon-ho’s new cinematic venture ‘Mickey 17,’ headlined by Robert Pattinson. The film, arriving in January 2025, spins an unconventional hero’s tale that intrigued Pattinson, who found the role “impossible” yet irresistible.

Meanwhile, Warner Bros. is revitalizing its superhero catalog with the DC universe poised for a transformative overhaul under the guidance of Peter Safran and James Gunn. Akin to a phoenix rising, the new Superman film is already in production, set for a summer 2025 release. Complementing this renewal, a documentary about the emblematic Christopher Reeve, sourced from Sundance, will hit screens this September.

Warner Bros.’ commitment to cinematic storytelling is reaffirmed, as evidenced by their relationship with theater owners and a series of box office successes. Recently, three major features—’Wonka,’ ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,’ and ‘The Color Purple’—cumulatively grossed over $1 billion globally, reaffirming Warner Bros.’ pivotal role in the film industry.

The studio, having once pursued a simultaneous digital-theater release strategy, has since re-established itself as a cornerstone of the traditional moviegoing experience. With a strong start to the current year featuring hits like ‘Wonka’ and leading into ‘Dune: Part Two’ and ‘Godzilla x Kong,’ the storied studio stands poised to keep audiences enthralled with their ambitious cinematic narratives for years to come.