According to organizers, Vera Drew the director and star of “The People’s Joker” pulled the movie from the Toronto Film Festival lineup. This cancels all other scheduled screenings during the film festival as well.
“The People’s Joker” is the Chicago-born, Los Angeles-based Drew’s first feature film. The official synopsis on the TIFF website used to read: “With comedy criminalized in Gotham City, the show is the only government-sanctioned space for funny people, but only those who will toe the party line. Disillusioned by a botched audition, Vera partners with a birdlike slacker to found their own alternative comedy troupe, attracting not only a rogues’ gallery of would-be comics, but also the ire of a fascistic caped crusader.”
Now the TIFF listing reads: “The filmmaker has withdrawn this film due to rights issues. We apologize for any inconvenience.” “We have no further comment beyond what is on TIFF’s website,” a spokesperson for the production said.
But “The People’s Joker” did get at least one screening, and received positive reviews. But Drew hinted at some potential issues that same day with the cryptic tweet.
While Warner Bros. Discovery (who hold the rights to DC Comics and the Batman universe) has yet to comment, it is assumed they issued a cease and desist to protect their intellectual property. Even though the film does start with a card clearly stating that it is a parody and completely unauthorized. The bottom line is no one involved holds any copywrite for any of these characters. Legally speaking Warner does have the right to step in and stop the film if they feel it can damage their IP.
We will bring you updates on this story as it develops. You can check out a trailer for “The People’s Joker” below: