Todd Phillips' Joker is still a week out from release and the film is already embroiled in controversy due to potential security concerns. The film held its world premiere Saturday night at Los Angeles' TCL Chinese Theater amidst the controversy with slightly heavier security than usual premieres that take place at the same location. According to a new report from Variety, check-in perimeters were extended a few feet further away from the building while cars dropping off talent were inspected by police officers with K9 dogs.
Earlier in the week, Warner Brothers had announced press would not receive access to talent at the event, something that typically takes place alongside the red carpet. "Our red carpet is comprised of photographers only," one studio spokesperson told Variety. "A lot has been said about 'Joker,' and we just feel it's time for people to see the film."
The controversy is rooted in a security bulletin sent to members of the military from the United State Department of Defense. "Run if you can," io9 reported the bulletin said. "If you're stuck, hide (also known as 'sheltering in place), and stay quiet. If a shooter finds you, fight with whatever you can."
In response to the concerns making the mainstream media, Warner Brothers issued a statement about the issue, which you can read in its entirety below.
"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."
Despite security concerns, Joker is still tracking to bring in an $82 million haul in its opening weekend. Should that be the case, it would be an October record, something previously held by Sony's Venom with a massive $80.2m debut outing.
Joker hits theaters October 4th.