Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and DC Entertainment have confirmed they accepted the R-rating from the MPAA for the upcoming animated home video release for Batman: The Killing Joke. There was talk about the movie possibly getting an R-rating before, but now it’s official. The R-rating was accepted in order to remain true to the iconic graphic novel’s violent, controversial story. This marks the first non-PG-/PG-13 rated movie in the nine-year history of the DC Universe Original Movie franchise.
The Killing Joke features the origin story for Batman’s archnemesis The Joker, including his humble beginnings as a struggling comedian to his fateful encounter with Batman that changes their lives forever. The film features Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprising their respective iconic roles as Batman and The Joker. Bruce Timm is producing the film.
Speaking on the announcement, Warner Bros. Animation President Sam Register stated: “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.”
In the case of The Killing Joke, the R-rating makes sense. This is one of the darkest and most violent stories in Batman’s tenured history. It deals with some disturbing theme and images. At least this means the producers will not have to censor the adaptation or compromise the integrity of the story.
In addition, WB stated there are currently no plans for an edited, PG-13 release of the film. Batman: The Killing Joke is due out later in 2016 on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital HD.