Concerns over the latest installment of the Batman movie franchise has authorities and studio executives concerned about possible violence that could accompany the film’s theatrical release.
Joker, which stars Joaquin Phoenix, is an R-rated take on the main nemesis of Batman himself, and is said to be a violent and gritty take on the character made infamous by the likes of Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger in the past.
After a devastating mass shooting during a showing of The Dark Night Rises in 2012 claimed the lives of twelve people, survivors of that tragedy have implored Warner Bros. not to make such a stark and damning incarnation of this particular franchise.
Now, as the movie rolls into theaters this evening, even the FBI is on high alert.
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The FBI has received tips of threatening posts on social media calling for “unspecific mass shootings” linked to the release of the new psychological thriller, “Joker,” starring Oscar-nominated actor Joaquin Phoenix that will hit theaters this Friday, according to a joint intelligence bulletin obtained by ABC News.
These threats have been circling online platforms since at least May 2019, but give no information indicating specific or credible threats to particular locations or venues, the bulletin said.
Some of the threats did contain references to a primarily online group called the involuntary celibate community, or Incels, and a subset that refers to itself as “Clowncels.” However, the intelligence community doesn’t necessarily regard the group as a whole as a violent one.
Even the studio was apprehensive about the film.
Within Warners, there was heated discussion about the wisdom of the project, with Walter Hamada, president of DC Entertainment-based film production, initially opposed to the project before ultimately becoming a supporter, according to a source with knowledge of the conversations. Tsujihara exited the studio in March, leaving Warner Bros. Pictures chairman Toby Emmerich and new CEO Ann Sarnoff, who had not been present for its greenlighting, to oversee the rollout. (Warners declined to comment for this report.)
Joker opens nationwide tonight.
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