‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ stuns with $3.8 million in two-day-only theater run

“Batman: The Killing Joke”
Image from the animated movie “Batman: The Killing Joke.”
(DC Comics/Fathom Events)

“Batman: The Killing Joke,” the animated picture from Warner Bros. and Fathom Events, was produced to be a home-video production. But after the decision to release the picture in a little more than 1,300 theaters for two days only, it made an impressive estimated $3.8 million.

“We’re thrilled and very happy,” said John Rubey, Fathom Event’s CEO.

Based on the notable 1988 DC graphic novel of the same name, the film charts the humble beginnings of the Joker, voiced by Mark Hamill, and what led to the fateful encounter with Batman, voiced by Kevin Conroy. After an escape from jail, the Joker seeks revenge by targeting Commissioner Gordon, voiced by Ray Wise. The film premiered last week at Comic-Con.

“Batman” was greenlit as a straight-to-video on-demand production, but Fathom had the foresight to put it in theaters. In partnership with Warner Bros., the film’s production quality was upgraded to fit the larger screens and present the best quality possible, said Tom Lucas, Fathom’s vice president of studio relations.


Rubey added: “We felt very strongly that it was a title that people would want to see together all at the same time on the big screen.”

Only one evening showing was originally slated for the film, but high ticket demand led to two more showings, one in the late evening and a third the next day.

Each of the “Batman” screenings included additional content around the feature film, a Fathom trademark. Moviegoers were treated with an interview piece with Hamill as well as a short documentary at the end of the film titled “Madness Set to Music.”

“Batman: The Killing Joke” was released digitally on Tuesday and will go to DVD and Blu-ray on Aug. 2. Lucas has high hopes for its longevity on those platforms.


“We’re hoping that digital sales and all home entertainment sales will benefit greatly from the awareness that these two days of showings have been able to generate,” he said.

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