This weekend the highly anticipated dark thriller “JOKER” will premiere nationwide amid high security concerns, recalling more then 7-years ago another DC Comics Franchise “The Dark Knight Rises,” and the carnage that took place in the summer of 2012, at a midnight screening in Aurora, Colorado, that left 12- moviegoers dead and dozens wounded.
The FBI along with the Department of Homeland Security have jointly issued an alert to law enforcement agencies around the country, to be especially vigilant of threats made on social media ahead of this weekend’s premiere.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the FBI has acknowledged it’s keeping in touch with law enforcement agencies regarding suspicious internet posts.
“While our standard practice is to not comment on specific intelligence products, the FBI is in touch with our law enforcement and private sector partners about the online posts,” the FBI told THR. “As always, we encourage the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activity to law enforcement.”
The nationwide premiere is set for the weekend of October 5th; however, the film has already opened in selected locations around the county.
One such advanced screening of the “JOKER” was in Huntington Beach that resulted in a “credible threat” to moviegoers late Thursday evening forcing the management of the movie theater to close.
Officers were dispatched to the scene about 5 p.m. to the Century Huntington Beach and XD Theater in the Bella Terra shopping center at 7777 Edinger Ave.
Police would not describe the nature of the threat, however, the film will resume on Friday with a police presence in the theater.
“We took the threat seriously, and we’re investigating,” said Officer Angela Bennett, a spokeswoman for the Huntington Beach Police Department.
“JOKER” directed by Todd Phillips, has sparked nationwide controversy for its portrayal of a twisted sick psychopath lurking within the underbelly of Gotham City.
The similarities between the “JOKER” and the “The Dark Knight Rises,” forced family members of the victims in Aurora to collectively pen a letter to Warner Bros. expressing their concern over the movie’s violent theme, asking the studio to lobby and support programs ending gun violence.
“When we learned that Warner Bros. was releasing a movie called ‘JOKER’ that presents the character as a protagonist with a sympathetic origin story, it gave us pause,” the letter said. “We want to be clear that we support your right to free speech and free expression. But as anyone who has ever seen a comic book can tell you: with great power comes great responsibility. That’s why we’re calling on you to use your massive platform and influence to join us in our fight to build safer communities with fewer guns.”
In LA the police department assured moviegoers there would be an increase in police visibility around theaters showing the movie on opening weekend
“The Los Angeles Police Department is aware of public concerns and the historical significance associated with the premiere of ‘Joker,’” the LAPD said in a statement last week. “While there are no credible threats in the Los Angeles area, the department will maintain high visibility around theaters when it opens.”
Box office figures released by Warner Bros. early Friday indicated that Thursday evening screenings of “JOKER” earned $13.3 million.
James Eagan Holmes was convicted in 2015 in connection with the “The Dark Knight Rises” massacre in Aurora, Colorado. He is currently serving 12 life sentences.