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Are Movies Too Loud? Hugh Grant Says ‘Joker’ Screening ‘Unendurable’ Because of Sound

Grant's criticism recalls similar questions IndieWire raised during the release of 2017's horror blockbuster "It."

"Joker"

“Joker”

Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros.

Following the September 2017 release of horror blockbuster “It,” IndieWire’s Chris O’Falt criticized the movie for turning up the volume in order to create jump scares. “Back in the day, scary movies made frightened viewers cover their eyes,” O’Falt wrote. “Today, younger audiences know better: They cover their ears.” O’Falt’s “It” criticism asked whether or not movies are getting too loud for their own good, a question that is once again on moviegoers’ minds because of Hugh Grant and the record-breaking comic book movie “Joker.”

Grant, whose career has bounced back lately thanks to roles in “Paddington 2” and “A Very English Scandal,” took to social media after seeing “Joker” to say he was unhappy with his experience because the film’s sound was unbearable. As Grant put it, “Am I old or is the cinema MUCH TOO LOUD? Unendurable. Pointless.”

The actor took his complaint to Vue Cinemas, a popular theater chain in Britain. The company responded to Grant with the following message: “I’m so sorry for any disappointment felt with the volume levels in our venues Hugh, please be assured we do regularly check these to ensure they comply to health and safety standards.”

Grant criticized the sound of his “Joker” screening by adding, “The joke was on us.” While “Joker” is not a full-blown action movie like other comic book films, it does feature a dominating original score from Hildur Guðnadóttir and several scenes of gun violence and loud rallies. The sound of “Joker” has hardly been a point of contention for the polarizing movie, so it appears Grant’s screening was an isolated incident.

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“Joker” has made over $540 million at the worldwide box office and could reach the coveted $1 billion mark by the time its theatrical run is over. The film is now playing in theaters nationwide.

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