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New York City police will deploy officers to theaters screening Joker this weekend, the department confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.
Days ago, Los Angeles police announced its department would do the same in the wake of a wave of unease the dark Warner Bros. film has evoked for some after three more mass shootings took place over the summer and in light of the film’s indirect connection to a mass shooting that took place seven years ago.
“There are no specific or credible threats at this time and these events will continue to be closely monitored,” New York City police told THR. “Any additional personnel will be deployed as needed.”
The New York Post reported Monday that NYPD chief of patrol Rodney Harrison directed all the city’s precincts to provide police coverage at theaters showing the movie.
Police sources told The Post that uniformed patrol officers will also be sent to AMC theaters throughout the city.
To date, there have been no “credible threats” connected to Todd Phillips’ R-rated take on the DC character. That said, law enforcement sources told THR there have been unfounded threats.
Los Angeles police said Friday that the department “is aware of public concerns and the historical significance associated with the premiere of Joker. While there are no credible threats in the Los Angeles area, the department will maintain high visibility around theaters when it opens.”
Early last week, five Aurora, Colo., families wrote an open letter to Warner Bros. expressing their deep worry 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, that some have said can be brutal and jarring.
Joker will not be shown at the Aurora theater where, on July 20, 2012, a gunman killed 12 and injured 70 during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises.
In their letter, the Aurora 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. Phoenix and Phillips have 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.” Still, the studio barred press from the Saturday night Hollywood premiere red carpet so cast and crew did not have to discuss the headlines.
However, Joker actor Robert De Niro told Variety on the red carpet for The Irishman he agrees with the Aurora parents’ requests of the studio, which are that Warner Bros. donate to groups that aid victims of gun violence and that WarnerMedia use its clout to push for stronger gun control and never again support a politician who accepts donations from the National Rifle Association.
Theaters around the country are also on alert.
Landmark Theatres announced it was extending its ban on face masks and toy weapons to include all costumes during Joker‘s theatrical run.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema also commented on 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.”
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