According to online metrics tracker FlixPatrol, one specific DC Comics movie is being watch almost non-stop around the globe. As the site reports, the animated adaptation of DC's Batman: The Killing Joke is the #1 streamed movie in at least 20 different countries (though not the US where recent release Malignant continues to rule). Viewers in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Panama, Venezuela, and many more have watched the 2016 animated movie enough to make it the top title on HBO in their respective countries. In fact the reported metrics are so high that Batman: The Killing Joke is the top title for HBO worldwide, despite not even cracking the top 10 in America.
Now as for why Batman: The Killing Joke is controversial there are two pretty major reasons. Based on the comic by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland, The Killing Joke source material has long been deemed problematic largely due to the objectification of and injures sustained by Barbara Gordon within the narrative itself. Moore has even largely attempted to distance himself from the work itself, saying in an interview back in 2000: "I don't think it's a very good book." The animated film however not only has these controversial trademarks but creates entirely new ones, principally a sex sequence between Batman and Batgirl that takes place in its all-new prologue.
Viewers were quick to air their grievances with this moment, noting the age difference between the two and how the paternal/mentor relationship between Batman and Batgirl resulted in this extra storyline making the overall story even more gross. Longtime Batman animator Bruce Timm previously defended the choice to add this sequence in an interview with Vulture, noting that the idea was conceived by he, co-producer Alan Burnett and screenwriter/comic scribe Brian Azzarello.
"We were aware that it's a little risky," Timm said, whose DC work goes as far back as Batman: The Animated Series. "There's definitely some stuff in that first part of the movie that's going to be controversial. Here's where we came down on that specific issue: It was really important to us to show that both of the characters make some pretty big mistakes. I mean, his 'parental skills' aren't that great. Maybe never having had any kids of his own, he doesn't realize that if you tell a kid to not do something, they're going to want to do it even more. And then she makes some mistakes and then he kind of overreacts to her mistakes and then she overreacts to his overreaction. So it's very human; it's a very understandable story. It's tricky because it's messy, because relationships are sometimes messy. But to me and to Alan and Brian, it was all very fascinating to us to explore that angle."
Should you be interested in venturing into the waters that are Batman: The Killing Joke you can do so on HBO Max, and you won't be the only one apparently.