Joker is still in theaters and a lot of the fervor around the movie in the lead-up to its release seems like it was misguided. However, protests taking place today in Lebanon’s capital city Beirut has seen the people taking up the character’s face paint in their efforts. The protestors want the regime in power to be held accountable for the country’s financial crisis. Lebanon is one of the most debt-ridden countries in the world and the people on the ground seem to have had enough. The government there recently declared a state of economic emergency in response to the debt crisis.
But, that action has not been swift enough as the protesters have been clashing with riot police in the capital. Videos of some members of the protest painting their faces like the DC Comics character have appeared on social media. It seems as though some of the residents believe there is a common thread of disenfranchisement between Arthur Fleck’s plight and their own. Of course, these people are acting on their own, but to see the movie incorporated so quickly into a real-life conflict is a bit surreal. Wildfires have plagued the area over the last week as the boiling point inches closer between the people of Beirut and leadership.
There’s a Joker facepaint station at the protests in Beirut pic.twitter.com/C7BSRyOjS1— Helen Sullivan (@helenrsullivan) October 18, 2019
Back on this side of the ocean, the incidents involving Joker imagery and violence have been almost nonexistent. Last week saw a woman vandalize a car while wearing a mask of the character’s face. But, otherwise, it has been relatively quiet amongst an abundance of caution from law enforcement. Near the film’s opening, there were multiple threats called into parts of the country. One theater in California had to shut down for a day in fear of someone actually going through with an attack after a warning was delivered. But, honestly, it has been more common to see someone get thrown out of a theater for smoking than gun violence around Joker.
That first weekend ended up being a massive win for Warner Bros. as the film ended up setting records for an opening weekend in October. That momentum could eventually see Joker set the box-office record for the month as an R-rated feature. Still, there is a long way to go before the end of the month. But, initial returns are promising. Hopefully, going into the rest of the year, the film can be a topic of conversation for Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal instead of violence.
Upcoming DC 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.