One of the most anticipated animated DC Comics movies of all time is probably this summer's Batman: The Killing Joke.
The movie, which is the first adaptation of the Alan Moore and Brian Bolland graphic novel of the same name, not only provides the origin story for The Joker, but also puts the "dark" in "The Dark Knight." The story follows two timelines as The Joker does his best to drive Jim Gordon insane while Batman tries to stop him.
Following its premiere at the San Diego Comic-Con, Batman: The Killing Joke will appear for one night only at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. in select theaters across the United States, as organized by a company called Fathom Events. Fathom often organizes such events, including the live performances of Monty Python's final shows in theaters and the many theatrical showings of several Doctor Who episodes.
But Batman: The Killing Joke is the biggest event Fathom has hosted yet. Variety reports that the company booked 1,075 U.S. theaters to show the movie, the largest rollout it has ever seen. That's 215 more screens than its previous record-holder, which was for the original Ghostbusters earlier this year. That means that the theatrical showing of the movie is available to more fans than ever.
The special theatrical showing will include an introduction by Mark Hamill, who voice-acts The Joker, as well as an exclusive documentary about him and his passion for bringing Batman: The Killing Joke story to life. Fans will also get to see behind-the-scenes footage of his Joker's song and dance number created for the movie.
It's no surprise that the animated movie has become so huge: the 1988 graphic novel continues to sell like hotcakes, even nearly 20 years after its debut. It created the story behind The Joker that all fans are familiar with today and looked into the psychology of what created Batman's most disturbing nemesis. The story also nearly killed off Barbara Gordon, which led to her becoming bound to a wheelchair and taking on the identity of Oracle.
The original graphic novel also won the Eisner Award for "Best Graphic Album" in 1989 and was a New York Times Bestseller nearly 10 years later in 2009.
Batman: The Killing Joke not only brings Hamill back as The Joker, but also returns Kevin Conroy to the role of Batman. Bruce Timm executive produced the film. The movie received an "R" rating, thanks to its violence and dark subject matter.