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*UPDATED* BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE – Small Changes Can Mean Big Drama For Warner Bros.

Written by Erin Maxwell

Last week, the teaser trailer for Batman: The Killing Joke dropped and it confirmed what Internet speculations over the past few weeks involving changes from the source material.

Considering the history Warner Bros. has with going off-script with its beloved Dark Knight…some fans are now holding their collective breath.

This is not new information. Bruce Timm mentioned that there might be expanded story elements when The Killing Joke project was announced.

True to his word, it looks like there will be an expanded Barbara Gordon backstory for fans to sink their greedy little teethies into and help pad the running time.

Then on April 3, a 12-minute featurette featuring key players behind the toon pic made it to the Internet…for a blink of an eye.

Although Warner Bros. watchdogs yanked down the clip with the speed of The Flash, at that point, it was too late. The couch critics already chimed in, casting a wary eye towards the small leaked amount of footage about the amount of expanded material vs. altered material.

NOTE: The 12-minute featurette is long gone, but here is a small clip an evil genius pasted together of all the small clips featured in video. Enjoy:



Some folks were not exactly thrilled.

It’s understandable why people are not jumping for joy at the thought of even small changes to the Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s acclaimed graphic novel. Living in a post Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice world will do that to you.

Batman is Warner Bros. most beloved and profitable franchise. Although this should be the mantel held by the mighty Superman, the studios’ inconsistent use of the character across its many multimedia platforms has proven that Krypton’s son is still on shaky ground.

But Batman is still solid though. Be it in film, animation or videogame form, Batman has been WB’s strongest property, both with fans and critics for the better part of 10 years. This is mostly due in part to the fact that those who taken the reigns of the Dark Knight have had high respect for the source material.

But with the new teaser trailer, there are small tweaks. Small details such as the Joker is being held in captivity, and has been for two years. Is his revenge a dish that is best served cold? Also, the teaser hints of an interrogation scene.

In addition to the small amount of changes spotting the teaser, rumors of a possible Harley Quinn cameo swirl about, which would divert completely from the source material.

Furthermore, it is still unclear if the animated movie will tackle the more violent and graphic elements of the comic. If it stays completely faithful, it might be the first DC animated pic with a hard R rating.

For now, fans continue to hold cross their fingers and wait. Because at this point, but they and the suits down at WB can now rest assure of one thing when it comes to word of mouth: all it takes is one bad day.

UPDATE:

WARNER BROS. HOME ENTERTAINMENT ACCEPTS MPAA “R” RATING FOR

BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE

All-New Animated DC Universe Original Movie to Authentically Reflect Best-Selling & Eisner Award-Winning Graphic Novel;

First Non-PG/PG-13 Rated Film in 9-Year History of Franchise

BURBANK, CA (April 15, 2016) – Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has accepted the MPAA’s “R” rating for its upcoming animated film, Batman: The Killing Joke, choosing to remain true to the landmark DC Comics graphic novel’s violent, controversial story, and making the film the first non-PG/PG-13 rated movie in the nine-year history of the DC Universe Original Movie franchise.

Batman: The Killing Joke, one of the best-selling graphic novels in history, tells the tale of The Joker’s origin story – from his humble beginnings as a struggling comic, to his fateful encounter with Batman that changes both of their lives forever. Actors Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprise their Batman: The Animated Series roles as Batman and The Joker, respectively.

Since its inception in 2007, the DC Universe Original Movie franchise has brought classic and current DC Comics stories and characters to animated life through a series of primarily PG-13 rated films. Throughout the 26-film history of this popular franchise, Warner Bros. Animation, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment have crafted animated productions that appeal to the adult fan – from adaptations of fan favorite stories (Superman: Doomsday, Justice League: The New Frontier, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns) to liberal adaptations of contemporary tales (Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, Batman: Bad Blood, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox) to original narratives (Batman: Gotham Knight, Wonder Woman, Justice League: Gods & Monsters).

Animation visionary Bruce Timm guided the DC Universe Original Movie franchise for its initial 16 films, then returned last summer with his own original story, Justice League: Gods & Monsters. Timm takes the reigns once again for Batman: The Killing Joke, reuniting a trio of actors (Conroy, Hamill & Tara Strong) from the game-changing Batman: The Animated Series cast to add even greater reverence to this heralded tale. Recognizing the fans’ dedication to the highly acclaimed graphic novel, Timm has worked meticulously to accurately maintain the intense adult content of The Killing Joke.

“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, Warner Bros. Animation & 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.”

At this time, there are no plans for an edited, PG-13 version of the film.

A two-time Eisner Award winner written by renowned comics author Alan Moore, Batman: The Killing Joke has maintained an unparalleled popularity throughout its 28 years of existence – as evidenced by its ranking as the best-selling graphic novel of 2015. Batman: The Killing Joke was greenlit in 2013 and announced in July 2015 at Comic Con International in San Diego.


Batman: The Killing Joke also features the voices of Tara Strong (Teen Titans; Batman: Arkham games), as Barbara Gordon and Ray Wise (Twin Peaks, RoboCop) as Commissioner Gordon. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will host the film’s World Premiere at Comic-Con International this summer, and see a subsequent release in 2016 on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital HD. 

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