Over the last few weeks, Hollywood press has been buzzing over the impending release of Joker and what it means for the cultural climate, with a lot of discourse surrounding the depiction of violence prevalent in the film. Given the current increase in mass shootings over recent years, Joker has been subject to criticisms and the filmmakers involved have been questioned about whether they're intending to promote violence. The ongoing discussions led Warner Bros. Pictures to cancel interviews with the press at the premiere, which only incited more discussion as the filmmakers push back against the narrative in the media.
While there were some concerns about a violent act taking place at the premiere this weekend, Joker's debut in Hollywood went off without a hitch although there was an increased presence in security at the event.
The LAPD issued a statement earlier this week stating that they "were aware of public concerns and the historical significance associated with the premiere of the Joker. While there are no credible threats in the Los Angeles area, the Department will maintain high visibility around movie theaters when it opens."
No credible threats have been reported, but some vocal critics including a group of survivors and family members of the Aurora shooting have issued statements directed at Warner Bros., chastising them for promoting violence with the release of Joker.
Director Todd Phillips has since challenged that notion and even gotten political in his rebuttals, claiming seemingly blaming the discourse surrounding Joker on "the far left."
"I think it's because outrage is a commodity, I think it's something that has been a commodity for a while," Phillips said. "What's outstanding to me in this discourse in this movie is how easily the far left can sound like the far right when it suits their agenda. It's been really eye opening for me."
Phillips also said that Joker isn't intended to offend anybody, and that it shouldn't even be considered a comic book movie.
"We didn't make the movie to push buttons," Phillips said. "I literally described to Joaquin 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 premieres in theaters this Friday, October 4th.