At Least One Theater Chain Is Increasing Security for Joker Screenings

Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker.
Image: Warner Bros.

We’re drawing nearer to Joker’s theatrical release, and as we do we’re seeing more theaters across the country respond to the possibility, credible or otherwise, of the film being a possible flashpoint for incel violence.

Now, Entertainment Weekly reports that Alamo Drafthouse, the Austin-based theater chain (who also commissioned the Joker documentary we blogged yesterday) which operates 40 theater locations across the country, is taking steps to increase security during screenings of the film.

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“There have been some guest inquiries surrounding next week’s Joker screenings, and what we’re doing as a company to ensure staff and guest safety, which is at all times our primary concern,” a spokesperson for the theater chain said, in a statement obtained by EW. “We engage with local law enforcement on an ongoing basis about security at our theaters, and while we’re unaware of any specific threat or concern, we will have additional security personnel present at each location for opening weekend for the comfort of our staff and guests. Additionally, cosplaying will be allowed, however, guests in costume are always subject to search at the discretion of theater staff at any time, and may be asked to leave for any reason.”

The Drafthouse isn’t the only theater to take notable action in preparation for the film: Landmark Theaters, a chain that services 56 theaters, has banned cosplay entirely for the film, for both guests and employees.

Controversy about the film has built over the past few months, as concerns over the film’s possibly sympathetic depiction of the Joker as a disaffected white man have mounted. Considering that disaffected white men have been major perpetrators in the United States’ ongoing gun violence crisis, many have feared that Joker could be a flashpoint for similar violence. Recently, we reported that the military has issued an advisory to its employees regarding the possibility, and victims of the Aurora shooting have released a statement against the film. It’s worth noting, however, that no credible threats have so far been identified.

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Joker premiered, sans press, last night in Los Angeles, and will be hitting theaters on October 4th.


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About the author

Julie Muncy

io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.