Warner Bros. is finally making an R-rated animated movie for Batman: The Killing Joke, but did you know they attempted to do it twice before?
Empire spoke to producer Bruce Timm, Kevin Conroy, and Mark Hamill about the making of the movie, and Timm revealed that the poor box office reception of Watchmen and the The Dark Knight Rises movie theater tragedy delayed their previous attempts at it.
“This is actually the third time that The Killing Joke came up for production. The first time, it was because we had told the home video department that chances are if we do this story, it’s going to get an R rating. This was years ago, but they said, “We’re okay with that, but we’re going to kind of hedge our bets monetarily.” The idea was because the source material was not really long enough to do a full movie, we were going to do a shorter movie at a lower price point, so that would hopefully offset the loss of sales that we would have by the fact that it wouldn’t be an all age title. But right around the time we were ramping up, the Watchmen movie was released and underperformed. Everybody kind of took a step back and said, “Well, maybe the time’s not right for an R-rated superhero movie, so put it on the shelf.”
A couple of years later, it came up again and we even had started production with character designs and stuff. But then that horrible shooting at the Dark Knight Rises theater happened and everybody got nervous again about it, because of gun violence, so we put it back on the shelf. Go forward a couple of more years and it came up again. At this point we kind of looked at the whole thing and felt if we were going to do it, there were certain things about the original story that had always kind of bothered me. I mean the idea of adapting this story always kind of terrified me, because of how relentlessly grim and bleak it is. And what happens to Barbara Gordon in the story is very controversial to this day.”
Make sure you head over to Empire to read the full interview to hear Bruce Timm, Kevin Conroy, and Mark Hamill talk lots more about Batman: The Killing Joke. The movie hits Digital HD on July 26th, and Blu-ray/DVD on August 2nd.