Skip to main content

A still from the film The People's Joker.The Canadian Press

The People’s Joker, an unauthorized reimagining of Batman’s universe through the eyes of a transgender woman, was pulled from the Toronto International Film Festival on Wednesday after a single screening.

“The filmmaker has withdrawn this film due to rights issues. We apologize for any inconvenience,” TIFF said on its website hours after the film debuted as part of the festival’s Midnight Madness programming.

Representatives for Warner Bros. Discovery, which holds the film rights to the DC Comics universe, did not immediately respond to a request for comment, while a spokesperson for “The People’s Joker” said they had no comment beyond what was posted on TIFF’s website.

The People’s Joker is directed by Vera Drew, who also stars as an aspiring comedian who moves to Gotham City to pursue a career among a community of other characters from the DC Comics universe, including the Riddler and the Penguin.

The film was originally billed as containing scenes from DC movies, including 2019′s Joker and 1995′s Batman Forever, but Drew told the audience at a Q-and-A after the screening that she edited all that out ahead of the premiere.

Instead, the crowdfunded movie included art from more than 100 artists, TIFF said. Several scenes are partially or fully animated.

On Tuesday, Drew posted a hint to Twitter ahead of the screening that she suspected something may happen.

“I have no clue how today goes and my team wants me to say nothing of course so I’ll stay vague, but whatever happens in the next few hours, I want you to know, if you’ve been waiting and aching to watch our movie, [you’re] going to get to soon,” she tweeted. “Stay tuned and stay with me.”