Warner Bros. animated film “Batman: The Killing Joke” will be rated R, the studio’s home entertainment division announced on Friday.
Choosing to remain true to the DC comic’s violent story, the film will be the first 17-and-up entry in the DC Universe Original Movie franchise’s nine-year history.
“Batman: The Killing Joke” tells the story of the Joker’s origin, from his days as a struggling comic to his encounter with Batman that will change their lives forever.
Kevin Conroy will reprise his “Batman: The Animated Series” role as the Batman, while Mark Hamill will return as The Joker.
Since 2007, the DC Universe Original Movie franchise has brought classic and current DC Comics to animation, mainly through PG-13 films. Warner Bros. Animation, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment have also released productions such as “Superman: Doomsday,” “Justice League: The New Frontier,” “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” and “Batman: Gotham Knight.”
“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 of Warner Bros. Animation and 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.”
Currently, there are no plans for an edited PG-13 version of the film. It was greenlit in 2013 and was announced in 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. will premiere the film at this summer’s San Diego Comic Con, with a subsequent release in 2016 on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital HD.