It’s been rumored and now it’s official. The new direct-to-video animated adaptation of ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ has been stamped with an R-Rating. The original graphic novel was extremely explicit and carried a “Mature Readers” label and Warner Bros. Animation gave the makers of the movie the greenlight to remain as faithful as they wanted, knowing full-well that this could lead to it getting slapped with the Restricted tag.
Sam Register, the president Warner Bros. Animation & Warner Digital Series explained:
“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.”
At this time, there are no plans to release an edited PG-13 version of the film.
Keep in mind, not even the cinematic live action movies have ever garnered more than a PG-13 rating and the last few of those are pretty intense. ‘Batman V Superman’ will be released in an R-rated cut when it arrives in a few months, so technically that will make ‘The Killing Joke’ the second R-rated Batman movie.
The studio has already gotten away with some pretty graphic scenes in its DC animated movies, including depicting Robin getting beaten to death in the first five minutes of ‘Batman: Under the Red Hood’ and a fairly faithful adaptation of ‘The Dark Knight Returns’.
Way back in 2000, WB took heat from fans when one of their earliest DC direct-to-video movies, ‘Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker’ was deemed too graphic, resulting in the studio editing it down and releasing it as “Not Rated.” After being inundated with fan requests, the studio eventually released the original version of the movie and it became the first WB animated movie to carry a PG-13 rating. At the time, it was groundbreaking. Nowadays, that’s the norm.
The film debuts at San Diego Comic Con in July before winging its way onto home video shortly thereafter.
What do you think? Are you ready for the first R-Rated animated ‘Batman’ movie?
Source: Comic Book Movie