The Joker, one of the most anticipated movies of the year, opens on Friday with some cities adding extra security around theaters for fear that the film may inspire violence, CNN reports.
The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have issued a joint bulletin warning law enforcement of credible threats calling for mass shootings at movie theaters that screen the film. And in some major cities, law enforcement officials are taking that warning to heart.
In Los Angeles, for example, the LAPD says that it is increasing its presence around movie theaters that are screening the film.
“While there are no credible threats in the Los Angeles area, we do encourage the public to know that the police department will be out there in high visibility,” said a police spokesperson.
Meanwhile, in nearby Huntington Beach, authorities say that they are aware of a “credible” threat. Similarly, in New York City, an internal memo from the Fire Department’s Counterterrorism Task Force prepped certain field units “out of an abundance of caution.”
The moves to increase security around theaters screening The Joker come a week after the military sent out an internal memo warning service men and women to be wary of potential violence at theaters showing the film. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, military personnel were warned to make sure they have at least two exit routes planned before they even sit down in order to quietly hide if a mass shooting breaks out and to fight the shooter should they be confronted.
Why The Joker?
Taking place in 1981, The Joker tells the story of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), who is driven to insanity and violence by bullies. Such a plot has played out far too often in real life — that is, a persecuted and bullied individual turning to mass murder — sparking fears that a disturbed individual who is/was himself bullied may be inspired to commit violence.
Further, The Joker takes place in the Batman universe, and a Batman movie has already been the scene of mass violence. Back in 2012, during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises, James Holmes opened fire, killing 12 people and injuring 70 others at a theater in Aurora, Colorado. Holmes later pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Fans Seem Unbothererd
Whether or not fears of violence will keep fans away from The Joker remains to be seen. But one fan, Matthew Clarke, told CNN he wasn’t going to be kept away by fear.
“When I first heard about the mass shooting controversy, it didn’t really bother me. To me, it was just another stupid thing that was going on,” he said.