Could Batman: The Killing Joke's Theatrical Success Bring More DC Animation to the Big Screen?

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(Photo: WB Animation)

With a $4 million box office haul and a massive per-screen average in the first of its two days in theaters, Batman: The Killing Joke became the biggest financial success in the history of Fathom Events.

Fathom, who do one- or two-night-only screenings of classic movies, live event broadcasts, high culture events like operas and Broadway plays, and more, will likely be taking a long, hard look at the next few direct-to-video animated features coming from DC Entertainment...just at a time when stories like The Judas Contract, Justice League Dark, and Batman/Harley Quinn.

Will that mean more opportunities for fans to see their favorite (animated) superheroes on the big screen? It certainly isn't guaranteed, but don't count it out.

The DC Universe animated movies have consistently been shown on the big screen at comic book conventions and red carpet premiere parties for their DVD/Blu-ray releases. The animation holds up fine on a large-format presentation and the only thing standing in the way of some kind of release is, theoretically, the idea that it may not be worth the time, money, and effort.

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With a shrinking home video market and more audiences willing to either bootleg movies or wait until they hit a subscription streaming service like Netflix, it's hard to ignore a revenue stream that could earn even half of what The Killing Joke did for a single night, though. And while not every DC animated property is likely to do so, imagine how much they could have earned from comic book fans if things like Justice League: The New Frontier or Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox had been screened in theaters around the U.S.

Next up is Justice League Dark, which isn't a guaranteed winner, but it does have something fans have been campaigning for: Matt Ryan as John Constantine again for the first time since his cameo appearance on Arrow last year. It's hard to imagine that there wouldn't be at least some interest, though, in a theatrical screening for Teen Titans: The Judas Contract...!