Although DC continues to crank out animated movies starring its iconic superheroes, few generate the same level of buzz as the live-action blockbusters. But that’s because none are The Killing Joke, the upcoming adaptation of a legendary comic by an all-star creative team.
The animated version of Alan Moore’s famous graphic novel is produced by Bruce Timm, whose 14-year run of DC cartoons (from Batman: The Animated Series through Justice League Unlimited) remains one of the definitive interpretations of that universe. The movie also features Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprising their roles as Batman and the Joker from years of cartoons and video games.
The Killing Joke is set for an Aug. 2 Blu-ray release, but on Wednesday DC announced that the movie will also get a one-night-only theatrical release on July 25 in theaters nationwide. Viewers beware, however: Unlike most DC efforts, The Killing Joke is rated R, and anyone familiar with the source material knows why. The original comic is one of the darkest in Batman’s history, involving the Joker’s sadistic mutilation and torture of some of Batman’s closest allies (plus a very strange ending).
In addition to the animated feature itself, these viewings will also include an introduction from Hamill, plus a short documentary on Hammill’s history with the iconic role. Here’s a fun way to annoy the nerds in your life: ask them whether Hammill or Heath Ledger created the better Joker.
“The Joker has a flamboyance that appeals to me,” Hamill recently told EW. “He enjoys what he does so much. I just can’t quit him.”