Theaters ban masks, costumes at ‘Joker’ screenings
A week before “Joker” hits the big screen, movie theaters around the country are banning masks and costumes at showings amid concerns about its violent theme and after the families of those killed in a 2012 mass shooting at a Colorado theater expressed alarm.
Landmark Theaters, a Los Angeles-based chain with more than 50 venues nationwide, told Reuters that “no masks, painted faces or costumes” will be allowed in its theaters. Earlier this week, AMC Theatres issued a reminder to customers.
“Guests are welcome to come dressed in costume, but we do not permit masks, face paint or any object that conceals the face,” the Kansas-based company said in a statement this week. “AMC does not permit weapons or items that would make other guests feel uncomfortable or detract from the moviegoing experience.”
The film starring Joaquin Phoenix has been both heralded and criticized for its portrayal of a failing clown who unravels, becoming a mass murderer and a sort of dark folk hero. Some see it as a close examination of the forces that can push a person to commit such atrocities; others say it lionizes the mass violence that’s become increasingly common in recent years.
In 2012, a heavily armed man murdered 12 people and wounded 70 during a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colo., where many audience members were in costume. Police said James Holmes had dyed his hair so he would look like the Joker, the Batman villain. He was later convicted on 165 charges and is serving a life sentence.
Warner Bros. extended its sympathy to victims of gun violence and said it had recently joined the call for gun-reform legislation. But the studio also asserted that “Joker” was in no way an “endorsement of realworld violence of any kind.”
Joaquin Phoenix plays the title character in “Joker.”