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.
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.