Martin Scorsese Explains his Dropping Out from ‘Joker’

2 min


With Todd Phillips’s Joker now getting ready to make $1 billion at the worldwide box office, everyone involved has reason to be proud.

Unable to share in that celebration is legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese. In its early development days, Scorsese’s expected role as producer was a big draw.

Many fans were disappointed when he ultimately dropped out, but he recently explained that he just “didn’t have the time.”

Did Scorsese drop out because of his stance on superhero films?

The acclaimed director of Raging Bull and Goodfellas also made news recently in his remarks that superhero movies, particularly those in the MCU, are “not cinema.”

This post’s author originally theorized that Scorsese’s dropping out had something to do with this bias.

However, it makes perfect sense that his directing duties for The Irishman, along with any other projects, simply took up too much of his time.

Image result for The Joker + Box Office Mojo

Even without Scorsese’s direct influence, Joker still has his fingerprints all over it. Cinema fanatics had no problem drawing connections to Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy.

This is almost certainly due to Marty’s regular collaborator Emma Tillinger sharing producer responsibilities with Todd Phillips and Bradley Cooper.

Fortunately, Scorsese seems to hold no hard feelings for the film taking his influence and doing so well. He described it as “a remarkable work” and called Joaquin Phoenix “incredible.”

I know the film very well. I know [Phillips] very well. My producer Emma Tillinger Koskoff produced it. I thought about it a lot over the last four years and decided I did not have the time for it. But I know the script very well. It has a real energy, and Joaquin. You have remarkable work

Martin Scorsese

This is a stark difference from his calling Marvel films “theme park movies.” To Scorsese’s credit, he has taken a step back from his stance on the MCU, acknowledging they have their place and that they are “like another art form.”

While it seems that comic book movies will likely never have a spot in Martin Scorsese’s amazing catalog, they’ve proven their popularity as crowd-pleasers.

The genre is stronger than ever before, with Avengers: Endgame as the top-grossing movie ever and Joker topping the list for R-rated titles.

Scorsese has made his classics that stand the test of time, but we fans are confident that today’s comic book movies will stand with them, years from now.


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Kenneth Walker
Freelance writer by passion and rock drummer by hobby, Kenneth "Kenny" Walker is an avid fan of scifi, horror, and superheroes. Inspired by creatives from Rod Serling to Sylvester Stallone, Kenny's greatest passion is for writing fiction and media.