Regal Cinemas is assuring moviegoers ahead of the release of Warner Bros.’ comic book drama “Joker” that no film is “a cause or a signal for violence.” The Todd Phillips-directed movie stars Joaquin Phoenix as the notorious Batman villain and has been dominating headlines this week over accusations the story will encourage some viewers to incite violence. Phillips, Phoenix, and Warner Bros.’ have all issued statements defending the film against such claims. A spokesperson for Regal Cinemas told The Warp that no moviegoer should be worried about seeing “Joker” in theaters.
“At Regal, we do not believe the content or the existence of any movie is a cause or a signal for violence,” the Regal spokesperson said. “Nevertheless, although we do not comment on security protocols implemented by our theatres at any time, patron and employee safety is our foremost concern. In collaboration with NATO, we are in regular contact year-round with law enforcement so we have information to help make whatever security assessments they deem appropriate at all times.”
Warner Bros.’ statement from earlier this week said the movie does “not endorse real-world violence.” The “Joker” violence controversy was elevated after some family members of the Aurora, Colorado, shooting victims sent a letter to the studio expressing concerns over the release. The next day a memo from the U.S. military circulated online in which service members were warned about the possibility of incel attacks at “Joker” screenings. The military was adamant that no specific threats had been discovered or reported.
Phoenix said in an IGN interview published earlier this week that people can find “fuel” anywhere that makes them act violent, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be making films that ask tough questions and might provoke. “The truth is you don’t know what is going to be the fuel for somebody,” the actor said. “And it might very well be your question. It might be this moment, right? But you can’t function in life saying, ‘Well, I can’t ask that question for the small chance that somebody might be affected by [it].’ I wouldn’t ask you to do that.”
“Joker” is tracking at the box office to become the biggest October debut in history with well over $80 million. The film opens nationwide from Warner Bros. on October 4.