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After almost 30 years of waiting, we finally got it. If you haven't heard by now, the theatrical release of The Killing Joke went off without a hitch. Sure, there were a few critical bumps here and there, but ultimately fans walked away from the viewing experience satisfied with another classic Batman animated feature. However, it now looks like the film may have become an even greater success than we could have ever imagined.
It needs to be said that Warner Bros. made an absolute -- wait for it -- killing off of the theatrical release of The Killing Joke. Variety reports that the two-day theatrical run of the animated DC Comics adventure represents the biggest launch to date. Although it was initially only going to receive a brief one-night theatrical release on Monday, July 25, the demand for tickets grew so out of hand that Fathom ultimately opted to add a second theatrical screening on the following night. All in all, the theatrical run of The Killing Joke garnered a cool $3.8 million in total, with $600,000 of that coming from the Tuesday night screenings.
Although a grand total of $3.8 million might not seem like much, the math seems even more impressive when you break it down to how much the film made per theater. Given the narrower release of The Killing Joke compared to a film like Star Trek Beyond, the Batman adventure managed to garner an average of $2,396, per site, while the latest outing for Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the Enterprise only brought in $1,592 per site.
It's not hard to see why so many people flocked to see The Killing Joke in theaters. Not only is it the first ever R-rated Batman movie -- animated or otherwise -- but the film also brought back Batman mainstays in the form of Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, and Tara Strong. Add an absolutely classic Alan Moore story into the mix and you've got yourself a Batman movie that any self-respecting DC comic book nerd would kill to see.
Of course, as is the case with all things, there exists a downside to the recent release of The Killing Joke. The film received immense levels of controversy because of the way in which it depicts Batman and Batgirl's sexual relationship -- despite the fact that there's certainly precedent for such a narrative device in other iconic Batman stories. It remains unclear whether or not this increased level of quarrel helped or hurt the film with regards to filling seats, but many vocally criticized the film for changing fundamental aspects of Alan Moore's source material.
At this point it remains to be seen how Warner Bros. and Fathom will proceed from this event. Perhaps they will treat the success of Batman: The Killing Joke as a one-off, or perhaps they will opt to do more limited theatrical releases for upcoming DC animated features. All I know is that, if they opted to do an R-rated version of Death of the Family, I would be first in line. The Killing Joke is now available on Digital HD, and it will hit shelves on Blu-Ray on August 2.