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Los Angeles police are well aware of concerns surrounding Warners Bros’ upcoming film, Joker, and will increase visibility next weekend to ensure safety and peace of mind for the public.
To date, there have been no “credible threats” connected to Todd Phillips’ R-rated take on the DC character, but with the recent mass shootings over the summer and the 2012 Aurora shooting that took place during a Batman film, officers will be out in force, the department said in a statement.
“The Los Angeles Police Department is aware of public concerns and the historical significance associated with the premiere of Joker,” the statement reads. “While there are no credible threats in the Los Angeles area, the department will maintain high visibility around theaters when it opens.”
Police encourage people to go out and enjoy themselves, but “Angelenos should remain vigilant and always be aware of your surroundings.”
The news comes days after five Aurora families wrote an open letter to Warner Bros. expressing their grave concern over the film, which stars Joaquin Phoenix and tells the villain’s origin story in a dark tale with violence, at times with a gun, which has been noted as brutal and jarring.
On July 20, 2012, a gunman shot and killed 12 people and injured 70 during the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado. Joker will not be shown at that theater. In their letter, the victims’ families expressed their concern over the realistic, graphic violence in Joker and also their worry the character could inspire others to commit such atrocities.
The star and director previously said that was never their intention. Warner Bros. maintains “neither the fictional character Joker, nor the film is an endorsement of real-world violence of any kind.”
On Thursday, one couple who signed the letter, Sandy and Lonnie Phillips, made another push for the studio to do more, asking again that a donation be made to groups that aid victims of gun violence and for WarnerMedia to use its clout to push for more stringent gun control.
That same day, Landmark Theatres announced it was extending its ban on face masks and toy weapons to include all costumes during Jokers‘ theatrical run.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema also released a statement concerning Joker.
“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,” the statement reads. “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.”
Joker opens wide Oct. 4.
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