The 1988 comic book story Batman: The Killing Joke written by Alan Moore (Watchmen) is highly regarded in the graphic novel world as one of the best Batman stories out there (alongside Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, that is). In fact, it's one of the best-selling graphic novels novels ever, in which it focuses on the origin story of Gotham's notorious villain The Joker. His early life, struggle, and fateful encounter with Batman is the gritty story Moore and illustrator Brian Bolland hone in on, as fans have patiently waited for an animated version to come out for what feels like forever.
With a trailer teasing us the Killing Joke animated movie adaptation at the end of April, an official release date has since emerged for the home release over at Amazon. There, customers can pre-order the film in various formats.
Amazon U.S. is now fulfilling orders for the film on both DVD and Blu-ray in the shape of a pre-order for $24.98 and $14.99, respectively. What's more, there's an actual release date of August 2, 2016 to go with it, which had previously been unannounced. While Amazon lists the film as being Rated PG-13, Warner Bros. Pictures has re-confirmed that the animated Killing Joke movie is in fact Rated R, with the following statement from WB Home Entertainment Vice President, Family and Animation Marketing, Mary Ellen about the DVD/Blu-ray release (via EW):
“Batman: The Killing Joke presents, for the first time, one of the most compelling stories in the annals of Batman’s adventures: the evolution of the Joker from normalcy to criminal insanity, in all its graphic presentation as an R-rated animated film. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is proud to release Batman: The Killing Joke as an authentic representation of its revered story for both longtime fans and new fans alike.”
EW has also exclusively revealed that the Killing Joke deluxe edition and combo pack Blu-ray will include two 22-minute episodes from The New Batman Adventures and Batman: The Animated Series, as well as two featurettes: Madness Set to Music, a documentary that explores the film's story-boarding and scoring processes, and Many Shades of the Joker: The Tale of the Killing Joke, a short examining the illustration style of the original Killing Joke graphic novel. The combo pack Blu-ray edition will also include a limited edition figurine of the Joker, for those who purchase it early on.
While the film will premiere at San Diego Comic-Con at the end of July (between 21-24), it'll then hit shelves in the U.S. a week after, but there's no news of it coming to U.K. shores any time soon. It's obviously great for eager who are unable to attend SDCC to see the film (and let's face it, that's a majority). The Killing Joke animated film adaptation will also mark the return of Mark Hamill as The Joker and Kevin Conroy as Batman, respectively.
The film's producer, Bruce Timm, revealed to Comic Book at the beginning of the year that the original Killing Joke storyline has been expanded for the animated film version:
"The one big difference about it, as opposed to those other projects (The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 & Part 2), is The Killing Joke... the source material is really not long enough to make an entire feature film out of, so we actually had to add a lot more story to it. Which is tricky. But I think we came up with a really good solution on how that worked."
Whether or not The Killing Joke will actually be a good adaptation of Moore's work is anyone's guess, but that hasn't stopped fans of the excellent graphic novel from building sky high expectations. Here's to hoping the actual film can meet those expectations.
Batman: The Killing Joke will be released on DVD and Blu-ray in the U.S. on August 2nd, 2016.