The studio behind Joker said that the film was intended to “provoke difficult conversations around complex issues,” but there were none of those on the red carpet earlier today.
The movie had its US premiere a short time ago in LA, with Joaquin Phoenix, Todd Phillips, Zazie Beetz and others in attendance, but none of them were allowed to speak to the press.
— Claudia Eller (@Variety_Claudia) September 27, 2019
In a movie that Variety editor-in-chief Claudia Eller labelled “unprecedented”, a Warner Bros representative confirmed that print and broadcast journalists were disinvited, saying:
“Our red carpet [comprises] photographers only. A lot has been said about Joker and we just feel it’s time for people to see the film.”
Joker comes out on October 4 in the US, and the fear that it might act as a “rallying cry” for violence has the police, the FBI and even the military on edge.
On Wednesday of this week, the US Army confirmed that it distributed a warning to personnel, advising them on what to do in the event of a shooting at a movie screening.
When asked about the September 19 email, the Army said that it had been warned of a “potential” risk via a bulletin from the FBI, but no specific threat.
LAPD spokesman Josh Rubenstein recently confirmed that there will be an increased police presence around local theatres during the film’s run, saying:
“The Los Angeles Police Department is aware of public concerns and the historical significance associated with the premiere of Joker. While there are no credible threats in the Los Angeles area, the department will maintain high visibility around theaters when it opens.”
US cinema chain Landmark has forbidden the wearing of masks during the film’s theatrical run, with CEO Ted Mundorff saying he wants cinema-goers to feel “comfortable” at screenings.
When asked recently if he understood why people might be “scared” to see Joker in light of the 2012 Dark Knight Rises mass-shooting in Aurora, director Phillips appeared fed up.
“We didn’t make the movie to push buttons, he told the Associated Press, adding that the film was not intended to “glorify” violence.
Writer-director Todd Phillips says it isn’t fair to link his #JokerMovie to real-world violence: “It’s a fictional character in a fictional world that’s been around for 80 years.” pic.twitter.com/NcT4d9fjOQ
— AP Entertainment (@APEntertainment) September 24, 2019
Families of those killed in the 2012 Aurora shooting recently penned a letter to Warner Bros, expressing concerns over Joker‘s “sympathetic” portrayal of a mass-murderer.
The studio responded, saying that the protagonist is not intended to be a hero, and pointing out its “long history” of donating money to victims of violence, including those killed Aurora.