Fathom Sets Its Widest Rollout Ever for ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’

Batman: The Killing Joke Mark Hamill
Courtesy of DC Comics

Fathom Events has booked 1,075 U.S. cinemas — its widest rollout of all time — for the big-screen debut of the animated film “Batman: The Killing Joke” on July 25, Variety has learned exclusively.

The graphic novel-turned-movie will be shown for a single night at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. This event reunites “Batman: The Animated Series” executive producer Bruce Timm with actors Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, who are reprising their roles as Batman and the Joker, respectively.

The showings will also include a special introduction from Hamill, a never-before-seen documentary about the actor and his passion for this project, and a behind-the-scenes look at how the Joker’s song and dance number was recreated for this feature.

Fathom specializes in presenting live events for theatrical chains and is co-owned by AMC Entertainment, Cinemark Holdings and Regal Entertainment Group. It’s screened “The Sound of Music 50th Anniversary,” “Finding Noah: An Adventure of Faith” and “Ed Sheeran: Jumpers for Goalposts.”

“Killing Joke” will play on 215 more screens than the previous record-holder, the June 8 presentation of the original “Ghostbusters” at 860 locations.

Warner Bros. distribution chief Jeff Goldstein noted that the movie is based on DC Comics’ 1988 graphic novel of the same name by Alan Moore, which provided the origin story for the Joker as a supervillain.

“It’s been a bestseller for 28 years,” he added.

Tom Lucas, VP of studio relations at Fathom, said the level of interest among exhibitors exceeded expectations since the screenings were announced on June 17. “There’s a level of excitement that’s been generated because of the iconic nature of the film,” he added.

It will also be released digitally on July 26 and via DVD and Blu-ray on Aug. 2.

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  1. EricJ says:

    On the upside, core DC fans rub the reverential by-writers-for-fans DC Animation titles in Warner’s face (with sandpaper) to show them what they’re doing wrong with the Zack Snyder franchise.

    On the other, however, Fathom is also doing a one-night event for the latest Barbie CGI, “Barbie’s Starlight Adventure”–
    With the industry frantically trying to tell us, and themselves, that “Disks are dead!”, those same studios have found they’ve just shot themselves in the foot trying to get national exposure for the old Direct-Video Animated industry that used to sell itself at Target-Mart. So now they have to show themselves in theaters (and -digital- theaters at that) to avoid being the tree that falls in the forest.


    I wouldn’t be surprised if this kicks a**. The new releases have been tepid at best. Fathom does event programming and this looks like an EVENT. Good instincts in an industry full of sheep.

  3. Nick says:

    Maybe they should have spent some money hiring a writer and director. Not to mention some artists. This juvenile pablum looks like what it is–cheap overseas animation with no style, wit, or humor. Strictly for children with no discerning taste.

    • dude, pull your head out of your behind you hater. Obviously you have never read the graphic novel or seen the film but that does not stop someone like you. Good stories make good films- adn the Killing Joke is quite grim, little wit or humour. It is animated so direction is not very relevant, neither is a writer as the comic is the source material. Do disparaging comments make a little man like you feel superior?

      • Nick says:

        If by “relevant” you mean children’s tv crap like this, you are correct.

      • Nick says:

        No one cares. Fact is, the cartoon is awful. And no, not all animation is done overseas. Just the crap kids cartoons like this.

      • David Tirado says:

        Howard Greenberg – Probably and obviously he has miss the fact that most if not ALL animation are done overseas..at least the relevant ones.

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