Confirmed: THE KILLING JOKE Will Be Rated R (UPDATED!)
Posted by: Bill "Jett" Ramey (Follow @BATMANONFILM)
Date: April 14, 2016

UPDATE 4/15/16: Here's the official press release via Warner Bros. Home Entertainment...

BURBANK, CA (April 15, 2016) – Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has accepted the MPAA’s “R” rating for its upcoming animated film, BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE, choosing to remain true to the landmark DC Comics graphic novel’s violent, controversial story, and making the film the first non-PG/PG-13 rated movie in the nine-year history of the DC Universe Original Movie franchise.

BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE, one of the best-selling graphic novels in history, tells the 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. Actors Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprise their Batman: The Animated Series roles as Batman and The Joker, respectively.

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 (Superman: Doomsday, Justice League: The New Frontier, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns) to liberal adaptations of contemporary tales (Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, Batman: Bad Blood, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox) to original narratives (Batman: Gotham Knight, Wonder Woman, Justice League: Gods & Monsters).

Animation visionary Bruce Timm guided 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 takes the reigns once again for BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE, reuniting a trio of actors (Conroy, Hamill & Tara Strong) from the game-changing Batman: The Animated Series cast to add even greater reverence to this heralded tale. Recognizing the fans’ dedication to the highly acclaimed graphic novel, Timm has worked meticulously to accurately maintain the intense adult content of THE KILLING JOKE.

“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.”

At this time, there are no plans for an edited, PG-13 version of the film.

A two-time Eisner Award winner written by renowned comics author Alan Moore, BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE has maintained an unparalleled popularity throughout its 28 years of existence – as evidenced by its ranking as the best-selling graphic novel of 2015. BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE was greenlit in 2013 and announced in July 2015 at Comic Con International in San Diego.

BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE also features the voices of Tara Strong, as Barbara Gordon and Ray Wise as Commissioner Gordon. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will host the film’s World Premiere at Comic-Con International this summer, and see a subsequent release in 2016 on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital HD.

Wow.

I gotta admit, I was wrong and didn’t think it would happen.

Via an exclusive from EW.COM, Sam Register, president of Warner Bros. Animation & Warner Digital Series, reveals that TKJ will have an R rating.

“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. 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.”

This is historic as it will be the first “pure” Batman film (sorry, BATMAN v SUPERMAN doesn’t count in that regard) to be rated R.

Do I personally think that TKJ has to be R and not PG-13 to do it justice? No. Regardless, I’ve got to give props to Warner Bros. and all those involved with this project for having the, well, balls to do this.

I’ll also say this: Regardless of what people think of WB’s live-action DCEU, their animated DC Comics-based films have been pretty damn awesome to date. ANYWAY…

What do you all think about this news? Post your take – respectfully, please – on the comments section below!

What do you all think? Sound off in the comments section below!


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