Comic Book Satire The People’s Joker Pulled From TIFF

The Joker we never expected will have to remain unseen. According to That Shelf, a movie called The People’s Joker, which screened earlier today at the Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness program, had the rest of its screenings canceled because of a “rights issue” with Warner Bros. The film, co-written and directed by Vera Drew, is a satire of comic book movies about “an aspiring clown grappling with her gender identity” who “combats a fascistic caped crusader.” Okay, then. The problem is that The People’s Joker uses the names Batman and The Joker, which belong to Warner Bros. Discovery. While Drew has yet to comment directly, she retweeted this, which includes a screenshot of the apology email TIFF sent to ticket holders:

Yeah, copyright infringement is a laugh riot. But I don’t think this is a case of a filmmaker bursting at the seams to express herself. I think Drew knew this would happen and used it to generate publicity for her weirdo movie by making herself look like the victim. She could easily have named the characters in her film something other than “Batman” and “The Joker,” just like Hot Shots didn’t name Topper Harley “Maverick” and Austin Powers didn’t call its spy parody lead “James Bond.” Instead, she stole characters to whom someone else owns the rights, and she’s got idiots like one of the guys retweeted up there thinking “the man” is taking something away from her. The film is even billed at TIFF as “an illegal comic book movie about a transgender clown named Joker;” she knew exactly what she was doing. I can’t imagine who’d want to see this movie (well, I guess I can imagine), but now that it’s taboo, it’ll be talked about a lot more than it would have been – and her name will be out there as a dangerous, punk rock filmmaker.

Do you think The People’s Joker was a publicity stunt or an honest attempt to appropriate someone else’s characters? Would you ever watch this thing? Are the defenders of the movie (and I’m sure there are lots of them) already citing the alternate-timeline Joker from Flashpoint as proof that the Clown Prince of Crime has always been transgender? Let us know in the comments, and stay tuned to Geeks + Gamers for stories on some comic book movies you might actually get to see!

Comments (2)

September 15, 2022 at 11:03 am

I wouldn’t even call this satire, as much as I’d call it stealing characters from a known brand in order to project their own terrible ideas. It’s a common tactic for talentless people that think they are world changing but aren’t actually interesting at all.

WB came in and said to cease and decease. Probably because this ridiculous film, not even a fan pic, is stolen material that damages the already struggling brand. I’m surprised WB hasn’t came out with a harsher legal voice due to the creator of this movie’s unhinged rants on Twitter.

In the end I would say this was a pure appropriate of someone else’s creation in hopes of making a name for themselves and to make money off of it due to their own lack of originality and talent. Trying to steal someone else’s work but got caught.

    September 16, 2022 at 6:50 pm

    That’s what it looks like. She’s positioning herself to be some indie darling, and she’ll have “the big studios hate me” cred with idiots.

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