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Regal Cinemas weighs in on ‘Joker’ controversy: No film is ‘a cause for violence’

The movie theater chain weighed in as fear rises over possible attacks during ‘Joker’ screening.

Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck in Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures and BRON Creative’s “Joker,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Niko Tavernise, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Regal Cinemas released a statement Wednesday telling moviegoers that films are not “a cause or a signal for violence.”

What happened: Regal Cinemas told The Wrap that moviegoers shouldn’t be worried seeing “Joker.”

  • “At Regal, we do not believe the content or the existence of any movie is a cause or a signal for violence,” the Regal spokesperson said. “Nevertheless, although we do not comment on security protocols implemented by our theatres at any time, patron and employee safety is our foremost concern. In collaboration with NATO, we are in regular contact year-round with law enforcement so we have information to help make whatever security assessments they deem appropriate at all times.”

Context: Regal Cinemas’ statement came about a week before the release of “Joker,” the Todd Phillips-directed film that will tell an origin story for the Batman villain, Joker (Joaquin Phoenix).

Concerns: The film has been dominating headlines for potential violence. The U.S. Army Base in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, warned commanders about potential threats for showings of the film. The military issued a warning bulletin of “a credible potential mass shooting to occur at an unknown movie theater.” Reports earlier this week explained that the U.S. military issued a nationwide warning for possible “incel” attacks at “Joker” screenings, as reported by the Deseret News.

Response: The families and victims of the 2012 Aurora, Colorado, shooting sent a letter to Warner Bros. asking the company to support better gun control legislation, rather than ask for an out-right ban of the film. The remodeled theater in Aurora, Colorado, where the shooting took place reportedly won’t air the film.

Warner Bros. issued an apology statement to caution moviegoers over potential fears.

  • “Gun violence in our society is a critical issue, and we extend our deepest sympathy to all victims and families impacted by these tragedies. Our company has a long history of donating to victims of violence, including Aurora, and in recent weeks, our parent company joined other business leaders to call on policymakers to enact bi-partisan legislation to address this epidemic. At the same time, Warner Bros. believes 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.”