Joker: Folie a Deux director and co-writer Todd Phillips wowed the CinemaCon audience with the premiere of the R-rated sequel’s trailer during the Warner Bros session on Tuesday.

“It’s been five years since I came here – did I miss anything?” quipped Phillips, who last appeared at CinemaCon to promote what would become his $1bn global box office smash Joker in 2019, on the cusp of the pandemic.

Phillips acknowledged exhibitors in belated thanks for supporting the first film before teeing up the trailer to the sequel, which sees Joaquin Phoenix reprise his Oscar-winning role as Arthur Fleck aka Joker alongside Lady Gaga as love interest Harley Quinn.

The trailer blends the gritty blue palette of Fleck’s prison life in what may be Arkham Asylum with an eruption of colour and theatricality reminiscent of classic Hollywood musicals.

Joker and Quinn dance to the strains of ’What The World Needs Now Is Love’, however they do not sing – or at least not yet –despite several teases where they hold or stand near mics.

Phillips mused on the description of the sequel as a musical and offered, “I’ve never talked about it as a musical, but it’s a movie where music is an essential element.”

He explained to attendees at the studio presentation that the sequel does not veer too far from the innate musicality and grace that informed Fleck’s character in the first film.

Joker: Folie a Deux is scheduled to open on October 4 and is tipped to premiere in Venice, in the footsteps of its 2019 Golden Lion-winning predecessor.