Ahead of the release of Joker there was a growing debate over the impact the film would make once it finally hit cinemas.
Joaquin Phoenix’s depiction of an alienated and mentally ill Arthur Fleck, and the similarities the character has to those who have committed mass shootings in the United States and members of the incel community, has provoked major concerns that it could inspire actual violence.
With the film now actually in cinemas, one comedian decided to riff on these discussions by putting up a sign outside Los Angeles theater ArcLight Cinemas that read, “We are enforcing a strict, ‘NO GUYS WHO LOOK LIKE THEY’VE NEVER HAD SEX,’ POLICY, for tonight’s showings of Joker.”
ArcLight quickly distanced themselves from the sign, insisting that it “was not authorised nor posted” by them.
Apologies for any confusion, but this document was not authorized nor posted by ArcLight. It does not reflect our operational policies and has since been removed.— ArcLight Cinemas (@ArcLightCinemas) October 5, 2019
Just to make things clear, the sign was soon taken down and replaced with a message that expanded upon ArcLight’s original Tweet.
Okay I guess that sign wasn’t real, I went back and they have this one up now pic.twitter.com/kdCzVMfkuF— Nick Ciarelli (@nickciarelli) October 5, 2019
The original sign appears to have been made by comedian Brad Evans, who later revealed that he and his conspirator Nick Ciarelli actually left the sign up on the front window of the huge multiplex.
For everyone asking, yes, we did leave the sign up on the front window. pic.twitter.com/M6xhAu8HlP— Brad Evans (@bradfordevans) October 5, 2019
In regards to the discourse surrounding the film, director Todd Phillips told The Wrap, "I think it's because outrage is a commodity, I think it's something that has been a commodity for a while [...] What's outstanding to me in this discourse in this movie is how easily the far left can sound like the far right when it suits their agenda. It's really been eye-opening for me.”
Joker is currently doing exceptionally well in cinemas. Not only is it projected to debut to a worldwide gross of around £125 million ($155 million), which would make it the highest grossing film ever to be released in October, but the audience score for the film is currently at 92% on Rotten Tomatoes.