When Joker first opened in theaters, law enforcement and others across the country braced themselves for potential outbreaks of violence during screenings of the DC film. Screenings in New York City had an extra police presence as a precautionary measure, the FBI monitored threatening online posts related to the movie, and a theater in California even closed due to what was described as a "credible threat". Since then, as the film's box office success grows, things have been mostly peaceful at Joker screenings but not silent. On Tuesday, a fight interrupted a screening of the film in California.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, police responded to a fight at the AMC Burbank 16 Theater on Tuesday night when a fight broke out during a screening of Joker. Per the report, four people were said to be fighting inside the theater and according to a police spokesperson, by the time the police arrived the fight was no longer active, but they located a man who had been involved in the altercation. He had suffered a head injury.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the altercation started because of issues over noise during the screening. Police spokesman Sgt. Derek Green told the outlet that one group was behaving loudly during the film. Two men ended up arguing, with one of them using a glass bottle to hit the other man on the head. The man hit with the bottle was then punched by a woman. Both attackers left the theater and were unable to be located by the police. The incident was only connected to the film because Joker happened to be the film playing at the time.
Prior to the release of Joker there was a great deal of controversy regarding the content of the film and the potential for violence as a result, so much so that the United States Army even sent out a security bulletin to members of the military over a "credible" safety threat. Responding to the initial controversy, director Todd Phillips said that the film wasn't made to "press buttons" and was, instead, just meant to be a "real movie".
"We didn't make the movie to push buttons," Phillips said. "I literally described to Joaquin [Phoenix] at one point in those three months as like, 'Look at this as a way to sneak a real movie in the studio system under the guise of a comic book film'. It wasn't, 'We want to glorify this behavior.' It was literally like 'Let's make a real movie with a real budget and we'll call it f-ing Joker'. That's what it was."
Joker is now in theaters. Other upcoming DC Films movies include Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) on February 7, 2020, Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5, 2020, The Batman on June 25, 2021, The Suicide Squad on August 6, 2021, and Aquaman 2 on December 16, 2022.