Todd Phillips' Joker continues to ignite controversy over violence concerns. Regal Cinemas has issued a statement on the matter and they don't believe there is a cause for alarm. With that being said, safety will be a top priority for the theater chain when the long awaited movie hits theaters next week. Early reviews have praised Joker, but there have been concerns that the movie will inspire acts of violence. Regal Cinemas does not believe this will be the case.
Regal's statement comes days after the U.S. military cited an intelligence bulletin about "a credible potential mass shooting to occur at an unknown movie theater." Most of the current uproar over Joker stems from the 2012 Aurora mass shooting, where a heavily armed young man murdered 12 people and injured 70 during a screening of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises. Regal Cinemas had this to say about the matter.
"At Regal, we do not believe the content or the existence of any movie is a cause or a signal for violence. 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."
Joaquin Phoenix said in a recent interview that people can find "fuel" anywhere that makes them act violent. However, that doesn't mean that the idea and the thoughts shouldn't be challenged on the big screen. "The truth is you don't know what is going to be the fuel for somebody," Phoenix said. He continued by saying, "And it might very well be your question. It might be this moment, right?" In the end, the actor doesn't think life works that way. "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).'"
Todd Phillips feels just as strongly about the Joker controversy and doesn't really understand where it's coming from. The director cites other violent movies that have been released this year like the latest in the John Wick franchise and not seen this kind of uproar. Joker is based on a fictional character from the Batman universe and Phillips doesn't believe that his movie will inspire people to commit acts of violence after watching it.
After a wave of mass shootings in North America, one can easily see where the fear of violence is coming from. With that being said, it is weird to see all of this backlash centered on one movie and not the entire entertainment industry as a whole. Regardless, people are still going to see Joker and it will more than likely break box office records for the highest October opening. The Wrap was the first to reveal Regal Cinema's statement. Regal also debuted their own exclusive poster for the DC Comics movie.