First Non-PG/PG-13 Rated Film in 9-Year History of Franchise
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 Jokehas 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 (Teen Titans; Batman: Arkham games), as Barbara Gordon and Ray Wise (Twin Peaks, RoboCop) 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.
About Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Inc.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) brings together Warner Bros. Entertainment's home video, digital distribution and interactive entertainment businesses in order to maximize current and next-generation distribution scenarios. An industry leader since its inception, WBHE oversees the global distribution of content through packaged goods (Blu-ray Disc™ and DVD) and digital media in the form of electronic sell-through and video-on-demand via cable, satellite, online and mobile channels, and is a significant developer and publisher for console and online video game titles worldwide. WBHE distributes its product through third party retail partners and licensees.
About DC Entertainment
DC Entertainment, home to iconic brands DC Comics (Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder
Woman, The Flash, etc.), Vertigo (Sandman, Fables, etc.) and MAD, is the creative division charged with strategically integrating across Warner Bros. and Time Warner. DC Entertainment works in concert with many key Warner Bros. divisions to unleash its stories and characters across all media, including but not limited to film, television, consumer products, home entertainment, and interactive games. Publishing thousands of comic books, graphic novels and magazines each year, DC Entertainment is one of the largest English-language publishers of comics in the world.
Batman and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and ©DC Comics. (s16)
About Warner Bros. Animation
Warner Bros. Animation (WBA) is one of the leading producers of animation in the entertainment industry, producing and developing projects for multiple platforms, both domestically and internationally. WBA’s TV series include Be Cool Scooby-Doo!, Bunnicula, Justice League Action, Teen Titans Go!, The Tom and Jerry Show, Wabbit – A Looney Tunes Production for Cartoon Network, Mike Tyson Mysteries for Adult Swim and the forthcoming Green Eggs and Ham for Netflix. As the home of the iconic animated characters from the DC Comics, Hanna-Barbera, MGM and Looney Tunes libraries, WBA also produces highly successful animated films — including the DC Universe Animated Original Movies — for DVD. One of the most-honored animation studios in history, WBA has won six Academy Awards®, 35 Emmy® Awards, the George Foster Peabody Award, an Environmental Media Award, a Parents’ Choice Award, the HUMANITAS Prize, two Prism Awards and 20 Annie Awards (honoring excellence in animation).