Ahead of the release of Joker earlier this year, there was a lot of controversy and concern that the film could inspire violent actions. Including those critical of the film were the family of victims of the Aurora theater shooting in which moviegoers were tragically killed during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises in 2012. Now, with Joker's release having come and gone and concerns of violence having ultimately been unfounded, director Todd Phillips is opening up and says that he wasn’t worried that the film may set off violent reactions.
In The Hollywood Reporter's Director Roundtable, Phillips said that he wasn't worried about violence when Joker released, calling the whole controversy a "bulls***t thing," going as far as to blame the media for the controversy.
"No, because I just didn't subscribe to that bulls***t thing, quite frankly, that was happening in the media, where they just pick a movie every so often and declare it means something it doesn't," Phillips said. "We had think pieces being written where people proudly wrote, 'I haven't seen the movie. I don't need to see the movie.'"
While Phillips was confident that the film wasn't going to spark violence, he wasn't quite so sure that the controversy might result in Warner Bros. cancelling the film altogether.
Philllips appeared on Moore's new podcast Rumble With Michael Moore, a daily (and usually much shorter) podcast that Moore suggests he will run through the 2020 election cycle. On day six, he brought in Phillips, after having posted to Instagram how much he loved Joker early in the film's run.
"I thought we might have been over on Joker, just where the narrative on Joker started heading in the media," Phillips said. "I started thinking 'Jesus, is this going to be one of those things where Warners -- because it's owned by AT&T and WarnerMedia, it's a much bigger thing than Joker will ever be -- do they just go 'This isn't worth the headache?' There was a minute there."
Ultimately, Warner Bros. did not cancel Joker and the film then went on to bring in more than $1 billion at the box office.
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.
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