“Joker” movie threats: what exactly is going on?

Photo Courtesy of TheWrap

Story by Brandon Black/Lifestyles Editor

With the release of Todd Phillips’ “Joker” film this upcoming weekend, Sidelines found it pertinent to address the controversy surrounding the movie in addition to the measures that theater chains are taking to avoid potential danger ahead of our review on Friday.

The media landscape in 2019 is unfathomably odd and terrifying in equal measure. One pervasive element of that landscape is the appalling (and escalating) number of public shootings that have taken place in America within the last few years and brought the gun control debate to an all time high. For many, schools, churches and movie theaters have become places where they do not feel safe for fear of getting shot.

And now, this 2019 media landscape has enabled a movie about a comic book character, “Joker,” to inspire what Oklahoma military officials say are legitimate mass-shooting threats at a US movie theater.

a memo from the Fort Sill CID detailing the possible threat to movie-goers seeing the joker film.
A document released from Fort Sill, courtesy of KSWO.

Even with this memo, Army officials claim they have not received any credible information on the subject, according to USA Today.

The last time a major shooting took place in a movie theater was the 2012 Aurora, CO tragedy, in which there were 12 killed and 70 injured during a viewing of “The Dark Knight Rises.” Due to the obviously similar subject matter present in our film of the hour, some theaters have taken precautions to ensure movie-goers deal with nothing besides watching a movie when they take their seats in front of the big screen.

Two of the largest theater chains in middle Tennessee, AMC and Regal, are utilizing different approaches for security this weekend.

AMC has banned the wearing of “any object that conceals the face,” such as clown masks or face paint, at their theaters since 2015. They have held fast to that statement in recent weeks. Meanwhile, Regal Cinemas believes there is no issue, with a spokesperson for the chain telling The Wrap they “do not believe the content or existence of any movie is a cause or a signal for violence.”

The film’s distributor, Warner Bros., commented on the situation by addressing the horrors of gun violence before standing firm on their decision to release the movie.

“[We believe] 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.”

Amid all of this conversation, people are expected to go out in droves to see “Joker” on the big screen this weekend. If you’re one of those many people, just be aware and stay safe.


To contact Lifestyles Editor Brandon Black, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.

For more updates, follow us at www.mtsusidelines.com, on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter at @Sidelines_Life.

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