Batman: The Killing Joke has received an “R” rating from the MPAA, Warner Bros. announced last week much to the delight of many a Batman fan. After comments from the powers that be at last year’s San Diego Comic Con, this wasn’t entirely unexpected, but it is refreshing to get a confirmation.
Batman: The Killing Joke, one of the best-selling graphic novels in history, is an award-winning tale of The Joker’s origin story – from his humble beginnings as a struggling comic, to his fateful encounter with Batman that changes both of their lives forever. It’s also known for its very mature content, up to and including the scene where Joker paralyzes Batgirl.
Fans have wanted a film adaptation of this story for years, and the “R” rating ensures that the film won’t shy away from some of the more brutal scenes that make The Killing Joke so memorable.
Bruce Timm helmed the DC Universe Original Movie franchise for its initial 16 films, then returned last summer with his own original story, Justice League: Gods & Monsters. Timm will take the reigns again for Batman: The Killing Joke. Actors Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprise their Batman: The Animated Series roles as Batman and The Joker, respectively, with Tara Strong and Ray Wise voicing Barbara Gordon and Jim Gordon, respectively.
“From the start of production, we encouraged producer Bruce Timm and our team at Warner Bros. Animation to remain faithful to the original story – regardless of the eventual MPAA rating,” said Sam Register, President, Warner Bros. Animation & Warner Digital Series. “The Killing Joke is revered by the fans, particularly for its blunt, often-shocking adult themes and situations. We felt it was our responsibility to present our core audience – the comics-loving community – with an animated film that authentically represented the tale they know all too well.”
Since its inception in 2007, the DC Universe Original Movie franchise has brought classic and current DC Comics stories and characters to animated life through a series of primarily PG-13 rated films. Throughout the 26-film history of this popular franchise, Warner Bros. Animation, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment have crafted animated productions that appeal to the adult fan – from adaptations of fan favorite stories (Justice League: The New Frontier, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns) to liberal adaptations of contemporary tales (Batman: Bad Blood, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox) to original narratives (Justice League: Gods & Monsters).
Batman: The Killing Joke will be the first movie to receive anything higher than a PG-13 rating.
No word yet on when the film will be released.