Todd Phillips' Joker has received a lot of free publicity over the past few weeks. A student at California State Long Beach decided to give the controversial movie some more free press over the weekend. Twitter user jinpayn would not reveal his full name, though his last name is Payne. He is the one behind the now-infamous fake flyer promoting a "No Singles" entry to the Joker movie, which is in reference to an online meme. However, moviegoers at the AMC Theater at the Block in Orange, California believed it was real, which resulted in Payne getting banned from AMC Theaters. You can read the flyer's contents below.
"Please note: We are enforcing a strict NO SINGLES POLICY for tonight's showings of Joker due to safety precautions. We will not be admitting anyone without an additional partner."
Payne then posted his handywork on social media. "Great, I can't see Joker because I'm here alone. Wtf AMC Theaters?" He tagged AMC in the post and it quickly began to spread with many people believing it was the real deal. Soon, the theater chain was flooded with complaints. "So sorry for any confusion. This sign was not posted by us, and this is not our policy. The sign was removed as soon as it was found by the theatre team," said the theater chain in a statement. With that being said, AMC reps were still reaching out to moviegoers to clear up the confusion as of this morning.
While Payne found all of the attention to be gratifying, it was short lived. AMC's Vice President of security sent Payne a letter, which banned him from all AMC Theaters and detailed his actions. Payne was caught red-handed and still found this to be funny, so he shared the letter online. You can read a description of Payne's actions from AMC below.
"At 10:37 pm, you were spotted placing an unauthorized sign by the ticket kiosk. ... You then took a picture of the sign, took the sign down and posted a photo to Twitter. About 12:58 am, you were seen approaching the automated box offices, putting the same sign on the glass and exited the building."
Joker has had enough trouble with people threatening theaters for showing the movie. One theater in nearby Huntington Beach was shut down last Thursday evening after law enforcement says they received a "credible" threat. Theaters and local police have been on high alert, so Payne's prank wasn't all that funny to AMC. When asked why he did it, Payne had this to say.
"I don't do anything for the lulz because I'm not that type of meme loser, so I guess it wasn't really worth it. But I was having fun with it at the time so I don't know. It was kinda just something for my friends to laugh about. The theater no-singles policy has been a long-running joke online and has evolved to other more absurd claims such as a singles tax, theater metal detectors, theater penis inspection, etc. So I joke about that with them - and I do go to the movies alone so I've always found the joke funny."
While the fake flyer was fake, the outrage surrounding it ended up being very real for AMC Theaters. In turn, Joker received some more free publicity, though it cost Payne never being able to go back to AMC Theaters. Despite all of the controversy surrounding the movie, it was able to pull off a record-breaking $96 million opening in North America and has grossed over $258 million globally thus far. You can see Jinpayn's Twitter images of his prank below.