Over the years few graphic novels have affirmed themselves as timeless classic besides some obvious choices. Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns is considered a touchstone Batman story, while Alan Moore's Watchmen is often ranked among great literary works in general. Moore's 1988 story The Killing Joke is also a landmark comic book title; one that explores the origins of The Joker and how he became an iconic villain. Warner Bros. Animation's film adaptation of the DC Comics narrative, Batman: The Killing Joke, is now on its way at last and features the voices talents of Mark Hamill (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Kevin Conroy as The Joker and Batman, respectively.
While the short story had been fleshed out to make into a viable, lengthy feature, the intent was to produce an animated film that would be available on DVD and Blu-ray, without a big screen run first. Batman: The Killing Joke is confirmed to make its global debut at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con, giving Comic-Con attendees the opportunity to not only see it before any one else, but exclusively on the big screen.
It turns out The Killing Joke will also get a public theater screening on July 25th (the day after Comic-Con ends), as revealed via press release from Fathom Events and WB:
The dark journey into insanity begins as “Batman: The Killing Joke” gets the big-screen treatment for one night on Monday, July 25, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. local time. Fathom Events, in partnership with Warner Bros., is teaming up with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment to bring the acclaimed graphic novel-turned-film to select cinemas nationwide.
We can assume that there was enough interest from fans to prompt WB to appease the Batman faithful and commit to a fairly risk-free single day theatrical run for the Killing Joke animated movie.
Furthermore, the screenings will take place at various locations across the States and will include plenty of extras to keep audiences entertained during the evening of the screening:
In addition to the animated feature, audience members will get to experience a special introduction from Mark Hamill plus a never-before-seen documentary about how Hamill was cast in this project and what the role means to him as an actor and a fan. The event will conclude with a special behind-the-scenes look at how the Joker’s memorable, yet disturbing song and dance number was recreated for this feature.
With its World Premiere on Friday, July 22nd at SDCC - where Hamill, Conroy, and director Sam Liu will participate in a Killing Joke panel - there will be sufficient time for verdicts to trickle through online. That will ultimately determine the buzz surrounding the public showings a few days later.
Anticipation for The Killing Joke's transition off the hand-drawn page and into animation (and onto the big screen, no less) is absolutely huge. Fans will be keeping their fingers crossed that the 76-minute movie will be as rich and engrossing as Moore's original comic, regardless of certain parts of the story being fleshed out.
Batman: The Killing Joke will debut at San Diego Comic-Con on July 22nd; with a one-off theaters run on July 25th. It will become available for purchasing on DVD and Blu-ray in the U.S. on August 2nd, 2016.
Source: Fathom Events and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment/Animation