It’s no secret that Todd Phillips’s ‘Joker’ has been the subject of much talk of late. Some are labeling the film as a potential threat that may entice people to commit violent acts. Showing the Clown Prince of Crime in any sort of sympathetic light in these highly charged political times is coming at a cost. That cost is “bad press.”
Warner Bros. isn’t taking this lying down. Rather than allowing bloggers, news media, and pundits take pounds of flesh in return for clicks, WB restricted access to media from the film’s premiere this weekend. This unorthodox move by the studio was explained by a studio spokesperson to Variety:
“Our red carpet is comprised of photographers only. A lot has been said about ‘Joker’ and we just feel it’s time for people to see the film.”
How this will affect the movie’s overall box office performance is anyone’s guess. Entertainment and news media have already given ‘Joker’ a hefty amount of free press. So, this campaign may have the totally opposite effect.
Considering the amount of criticism and “what ifs” that have been hurled at the film this somewhat makes sense. Last week Joaquin Phoenix walked out of an interview with The Telegraph when the interviewer posed that the film may lead to real-world tragedies. Director Todd Phillips has also been running defense stating that this adaptation of the longtime DC villain was in no way meant to push buttons.
Sadly this may be a case of perception being the reality. This is especially true for those who are actively looking for a problem where one does not exist. Regardless, some theatres are taking precautions by not allowing patrons to cosplay as the Joker during screenings. The families of the Aurora theatre shooting of 2012 also issued a petition to Warner. They expressed concern about the sympathetic nature of the character’s origin in the movie. Rather than fighting against art and freedom of expression, the survivors simply want WB to no longer to contribute monetarily to politicians who take funds from the NRA.
What are your thoughts? Are you going to see ‘Joker’ in theatres on October 4th?