The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into any potential threats concerning the release of Todd Phillips' Joker this weekend. The movie has been at the center of debate for months over violence concerns. There are many who believe that the movie could go on to inspire people, who might be in the same mind frame as the fictional Arthur Fleck played by Joaquin Phoenix, to go out and carry out acts of violence. The FBI is also looking into potential acts of violence. They had this to say in a statement.
"While our standard practice is to not comment on specific intelligence products, the FBI is in touch with our law enforcement and private sector partners about the online posts. As always, we encourage the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activity to law enforcement."
The FBI had been reportedly receiving tips of "unspecific mass shootings" linked to the release of Joker going back as far as May of this year. In addition, the Iowa National Guard has warned service members about "potential active shooter threats" at upcoming screenings of the movie. Apparently, "credible sources indicate a known extremist group may be behind the threat." In addition the "threat appears credible." With that being said, the memo then ends by stating, "no specific threat is identified."
It's nice to see that the government is on the lookout for any suspicious behavior in regard to the Joker movie. The safety of moviegoers is of the utmost importance and law enforcement will do whatever possible to make sure that nothing violent ends up happening. Some theaters have been beefing up security and even the world premiere of the movie in Hollywood had increased security on hand too.
Apparently, the FBI had found "disturbing and very specific chatter in the dark web" about Joker screenings. Hopefully this chatter is a bunch of trolls attempting to get some negative attention thrown on to the movie, which opens for Thursday night previews this evening across North America. Whatever the case may be, Joaquin Phoenix and director Todd Phillips don't believe the movie is going to inspire acts of violence across America or anywhere else in the world.
Despite the increased law enforcement activity, Joker is expected to do just fine at the box office this weekend. The movie is tracking to open to $80 million-plus, which is about on par for what was originally estimated. In addition to the FBI, National Guard, and local law enforcement, theaters across the United States are taking safety into their own hands by banning costumes at the venues, which should help to add comfort. In the end, let's just hope that nothing bad happens at any of these screenings. Maybe someone can get beat up for spoiling the movie like a specific screening of Avengers: Endgame, but that's it. No real violence, just some escapism at the movies. The Hollywood Reporter was the first to reveal the FBI involvement.