Theater Chain Boosting Security for Joker Movie Opening Weekend

Joker, the new film inspired by the DC Comics villain, is proving to be controversial ahead of its wide release. There are fears that it may inspire violent acts similar to the mass shooting that took place in an Aurora, Colorado theater during a showing of The Dark Knight in 2008. In light of these concerns, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain of theaters is adding extra security during opening weekend showings of Joker. "There have been some guest inquiries surrounding next week's Joker screenings, and what we're doing as a company to ensure staff and guest safety, which is at all times our primary concern," an Alamo Drafthousse spokesperson said in a statement given to Entertainment Weekly. "We engage with local law enforcement on an ongoing basis about security at our theaters, and while we're unaware of any specific threat or concern, we will have additional security personnel present at each location for opening weekend for the comfort of our staff and guests. Additionally, cosplaying will be allowed, however, guests in costume are always subject to search at the discretion of theater staff at any time, and may be asked to leave for any reason."

The theater in Aurora where the 2012 shooting took place will not show Joker at all. Family members of the victims of that shooting put out an open letter earlier this week calling for Warner Bros. to take greater responsibility in the acts their content may inspire. "We are calling on you to be a part of the growing chorus of corporate leaders who understand that they have a social responsibility to keep us all safe."

Warner Bros. released a response to the letter. The studio stated, "Gun violence in our society is a critical issue, and we extend our deepest sympathy to all victims and families impacted by these tragedies," reads the statement. Our company has a long history of donating to victims of violence, including Aurora, and in recent weeks, our parent company joined other business leaders to call on policymakers to enact bi-partisan legislation to address this epidemic. At the same time, Warner Bros. believes that one of the functions of storytelling is to provoke difficult conversations around complex issues. Make no mistake: neither the fictional character Joker, nor the film, is an endorsement of real-world violence of any kind. It is not the intention of the film, the filmmakers or the studio to hold this character up as a hero."

The families of the Aurora victims responded that statement, "In its statement, Warner Bros. highlighted its past support for the survivors of gun violence and its rhetorical public call on lawmakers in Congress to pass stronger gun reform laws," said parents Sandy and Lonnie Gawhi. "Let us be clear: asking for change is a good first step, but it's nowhere near enough. Warner Bros. and its parent company must put its money where its mouth is and announce that it will no longer provide political donations to candidates and lawmakers who stand in the way of gun reform."

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What do you think of Alamo Dafthouse increasing security for Joker screenings? Let us know in the comments. Joker opens in theaters on October 4th.