Todd Phillips Confirms His Joker Movie Will Be Rated R

Joaquin Phoenix in the Joker

The upcoming Joker movie starring Joaquin Phoenix looks to be as dark and disturbing as anything we've ever seen containing a character out of DC Comics. From all outward appearances, it seemed quite likely the new movie was going to be for adult audiences only. However, the official rating from the MPAA has yet to be released, so we didn't know for certain until now. Joker director Todd Philips has now confirmed that the film will receive an R-rating.

In response to fans asking the director to confirm the rating on Instagram, Philips said...

It will be Rated R. I’ve been asked this a lot. Just assumed people knew. Sorry.

On the one hand, it's somewhat understandable why Todd Philips would assume people knew that Joker would be rated-R. From the time the movie was first announced it was being portrayed as something unlike most comic book movies that we are familiar with. While we've had our share of "dark and gritty" superheroes, this was looking like it was going to be something else entirely.

From the point that we saw the first trailer, it was clear that Joker wasn't just going to be dark, it was going to be somewhat twisted, fitting considering the character.

Having said that, you can never be quite sure how a studio is going to handle any given movie. Ever since Deadpool proved that an R-rated comic book movie still works, fans have wanted to see some of the more mature or violent characters handled in that way, but it hasn't always happened.

Many fans were expecting to see an R-rated Venom movie, and for a time it seemed like such a thing was a possibility, but in the end, we got the more audience friendly PG-13 rating. Until we knew for sure, there was always the possibility that something similar could happen with Joker.

In the case of Venom, the right choice was probably made, at least from a box office perspective, because that film did massive business. There's no indication that there anything was cut from the movie or that the filmmakers had their hands tied to get the PG-13 rating.

Since Todd Philips just sort of assumed everybody knew his movie was rated-R, then it's clearly the case that was always the plan. There was always an expectation that the material would be too much for anything else. If nothing else, this is good news because it means that the version of the movie that we're getting is the one Philips wanted to create. As long as that happens, the rating is less important.

Joker isn't set to hit screens until October, so it may still be a while before we get the official word from the MPAA on the rating,. It will likely give us some additional details that explain why the film was given the rating it was. The trailer doesn't make the movie look particularly bloody or violent, more disturbing, though it's possible the trailer is leaving those details out.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.