Theaters in the Triangle, across the nation on high alert during ‘Joker’ premieres

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The release of the newest film about Batman supervillain Joker is creating heightened security at movie theaters in central North Carolina and across the nation.

In 2012, A dozen people died in a mass shooting during a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” at an Aurora, Colorado theater.

Brian and Iris Guadarrama drove from Clayton to Alamo Drafthouse Thursday to see the highly-anticipated film “Joker” starring Joaquin Phoenix as the comic book villain.

“We thankfully got the perfect seats in the theater,” Iris said. “We’re just really excited.”

Theaters are taking extra precautions. AMC and Landmark theaters are banning masks and face paint for screenings. Landmark theaters are also banning costumes.

A U.S. Army base in Texas also released an alert, citing FBI intelligence, warning people to identify two escape routes and to run, hide, and fight. The concern was apparently sparked by social media posts by extremists.

In an interview, Phoenix defended the film.

“If you have somebody that has that level of emotional disturbance, I think that they can find fuel anywhere,” Phoenix said.

Raleigh resident David Hill is all for precautions after seeing the film.

“Sad they have to do it, but safety first,” Hill said. “It didn’t obstruct my movie-going experience, so I’m totally fine with it.”

Meanwhile, Fayetteville resident Gregory Parsons believes precautions for the film are unnecessary.

“I think it’s a whole bunch of hooplah,” Parsons said. “It’s just a movie. They make lots of movies. I don’t know why this one would be particularly special.”

For the Guadarramas, they feel the steps are good as more are expected to fill theaters nationwide in the days ahead.

CBS 17 also reached out to Raleigh police to see if they’re increasing their visibility at theaters with the premiere.

An RPD spokesperson said the department is aware of the topics portrayed in the film, but they’re declining to comment on operational or emergency action plans.

Warner Bros. also released this statement regarding the film:

“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.”

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