In 2012, 12 people were killed and 70 were injured when a gunman opened fire in a crowded theater, where viewers were gathered for a screening of ‘The Dark Knight’, the Christopher Nolan Batman movie that featured Heath Ledger as The Joker. There has been concern about a copycat situation with the release of this weekend’s ‘Joker’, Todd Phillips’ out-of-continuity origin story of the famous DC Comics villain, with Joaquin Phoenix in the title role.
In New York City, the police department is taking a “precautionary measure” by positioning uniformed officers at every theater in the city that is screening ‘Joker’. These officers will not be stalking up and down the aisles. In fact, they won’t be in the theaters at all. They will simply be patrolling in front of the theaters. It should be stressed that there have been no “credible threats” made that anyone is planning to shoot up screenings of ‘Joker’, but just in case…
There have been 334 instances of mass shootings in the United States in 2019 alone. Of course, not all of those were public shootings that make nation-wide news. (Even so, that’s a crazy figure.) 385 people have been killed in mass shootings. Once again, that is the figure for 2019 alone! But once again, no one has made a “credible threat” to screenings of ‘Joker’. Then again, most shooters don’t announce their plans ahead of time.
Warner Brothers has already issued a statement on the matter:
“Make no mistake: neither the fictional character Joker, nor the film, is an endorsement of real-world violence of any kind. It is not the intention of the film, the filmmakers or the studio to hold this character up as a hero.
“Gun violence in our society is a critical issue, and we extend our deepest sympathy to all victims and families impacted by these tragedies. Our company has a long history of donating to victims of violence, including Aurora, and in recent weeks, our parent company joined other business leaders to call on policymakers to enact bipartisan legislation to address this epidemic. At the same time, Warner Bros. believes that one of the functions of storytelling is to provoke difficult conversations around complex issues.”
Will you be checking out ‘Joker’ this weekend?