The topic was predictably broached once again during The Hollywood Reporter's 2019 edition of the Director Roundtable with Phillips, Scorsese, Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig, Fernando Meirelles, and Lulu Wang. After Scorsese elaborated on his assessment of Marvel-esque blockbusters as being more akin to an amusement park ride, Phillips chimed in with his own take on the dynamics of the blockbuster machine.
"Marty got a lot of heat for [what he said], but I understand it fully," he said. "We were struggling to get Joker made, which sounds funny because it exists in the superhero world, but it's really not one of those movies. We spent a year at Warner Bros., and I saw emails back and forth, literally, where they said, 'Does he realize we sell Joker pajamas at Target?' I go, 'Didn't movies come first and pajamas come second? Are the pajamas dictating the movies?'"
After a "no, no" interjection from Scorsese, Phillips continued: "Theme park rides. Pajamas. Slurpee cups. Whatever it is that you are selling off the back of movies, you can't make your decisions based on that."
Scorsese, of course, was aboard the Director Roundtable chat due to his Netflix-backed epic The Irishman, which is indeed not a Marvel movie. In the same interview, he also explained why he ultimately didn't stay on as a producer of Phillips' Joker, citing "personal reasons and scheduling" as among the reasons.