It opened against the backdrop of gun assaults across the nation. It’s been criticized for gore and a sympathetic portrait of its homicidal protagonist. And it received an R rating for violence.
All of which could add up to why Warner Bros. has been promoting “Joker” as more of an arthouse film with a small budget and no brand partnerships.
The studio declined to discuss its marketing with Ad Age. But the "Joker” promotion stands in contrast to another of the studio’s 2019 films, “It Chapter Two,” rated R by the MPAA for “disturbing violent content and bloody images throughout.” That film counted Carl’s Jr, AT&T, Cold Stone and Shell among its promotion partners.
The studio’s 2016 comic book movie release, "Suicide Squad,” a PG-13 film starring Jared Leto as its Joker, secured a partnership with Samsung and grossed $746 million globally at the box office.