The Living Force
Safety At 'Joker' Screenings A Cause Of Concern For Some Moviegoers
CBS Los Angeles Oct. 4 2019
October 5, 2019 9:08AM PT
Aug 28, 2019
Weeks of controversial headlines aren’t getting in the way of a record-breaking weekend for Warner Bros.’ “Joker.” After taking home $39.9 million in Friday domestic ticket …
October 5, 2019 9:08AM PT
Weeks of controversial headlines aren’t getting in the way of a record-breaking weekend for Warner Bros.’ “Joker.”
After taking home $39.9 million in Friday domestic ticket sales — the biggest October opening day ever — the R-rated supervillain film is eyeing a huge $92 million weekend total.
That’s on the higher end of initial box office projections, which saw the film debuting in the $80 million to $95 million range. Either way, the film is likely to beat previous October opening weekend record holder “Venom,” which opened to $80.3 million last year.
“The Joker” has generated widespread controversy for its villainous depiction of evil, prompting some theaters to increase security. Additionally, family members of the 2012 Aurora shooting victims — a mass shooting that occurred at a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises — signed a letter to Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff expressing concerns about the film’s release. Although the families ultimately refrained from calling for “Joker” to be pulled from release, they did say the movie’s “sympathetic origin story… gave us pause.”
“Joker,” which is opening with the biggest release ever for an October film, premiered to early critical acclaim at the Venice Film Festival, where it won the Golden Lion, the festival’s highest prize. Star Joaquin Phoenix has also drawn early awards speculation for his turn as the classic DC villain.
“Joker” is also generating ticket sales overseas where it scored $32.7 million from 73 foreign markets, bringing its international total up to $57.2 million. Top Friday openers included the United Kingdom ($4.7 million), Mexico ($4.2 million), Japan ($1.9 million) and Spain ($1.4 million).
Behind “Joker” is Universal’s animated adventure “Abominable,” which took home $2.7 million in its second weekend. “Downton Abby” came in third with $2.4 million and STX’s fourth weekend of “Hustlers” scored another $1.9 million. Rounding out the top five was Warner Bros.’ fifth frame of “It: Chapter Two” which nabbed $1.4 million.
A movie theater in Huntington Beach, Calif., showing the film “Joker” was closed down on Thursday night after a “credible” threat was reported to police, the Huntington Beach Police Department said on Friday.
The final two showings of the movie at the Century Huntington Beach and XD theater in the Bella Terra shopping center were canceled after officers were sent to the scene. Showings resumed on Friday.
The Huntington Beach Police Department said in a statement that it had received information about a possible threat to the Century Theater in response to the opening of “Joker.”
“The police department deemed the threat was credible enough to provide a uniformed presence at the theater,” the statement said. “As the investigation continued, our officers worked with the managers of the theater, who determined they would cancel the final two showings of the movie and close the theater out of an abundance of caution. Based on the investigation, and in working with theater management, it was determined that the theater could safely reopen today and resume normal operation.”
The theater’s website on Friday showed that the facility was open for business as usual, with advance tickets for sale. The police did not provide any details about the nature of the threat.
“The Huntington Beach Police Department will provide patrols at Century Theater for the rest of this weekend,” the police added. “We are working in conjunction with the theater’s management as well as mall security to provide a safe environment to the public. This incident is currently under investigation, and no further details will be provided.”
The film’s themes of mental illness and its relationship to violence have caused theater owners and law enforcement to worry about the message “Joker” sends. New York and Los Angeles police are deploying officers to theaters screening the film this weekend. “Joker” premiered on Aug. 31 at the Venice Film Festival, where it won the Golden Lion — the festival’s highest prize.