'Joker' raises concern for U.S. movie theatre massacre families

By Jill Serjeant LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Families involved in a 2012 movie theatre mass shooting in Colorado have asked the studio behind 'Joker' to help lobby for gun reform, expressing concern about the film's portrait of a mental breakdown that leads to violence. In a letter to Warner Bros, the families of some of the victims also urged the company to end any political contributions to candidates who take money from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and to fund gun violence intervention programs. The letter does not ask for the movie to be withdrawn

Reuters September 25, 2019 05:12:34 IST
'Joker' raises concern for U.S. movie theatre massacre families

Joker raises concern for US movie theatre massacre families

By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Families involved in a 2012 movie theatre mass shooting in Colorado have asked the studio behind "Joker" to help lobby for gun reform, expressing concern about the film's portrait of a mental breakdown that leads to violence.

In a letter to Warner Bros, the families of some of the victims also urged the company to end any political contributions to candidates who take money from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and to fund gun violence intervention programs.

The letter does not ask for the movie to be withdrawn. But it says, "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."

The letter, seen by Variety and other Hollywood industry outlets, comes before "Joker," starring Joaquin Phoenix as the Batman comic book villain, opens in U.S. movie theatres on Oct. 4.

The movie won the top award at the Venice film festival in September and has won plaudits for its disturbing depiction of a social outcast who wreaks terrifying violence. Box office analysts expect it to take about $70 million-$80 million at the North American box office on its opening weekend.

Warner Bros said on Tuesday that it had a long history of donating to victims of violence, including those in the Colorado shooting. The movie studio added in a statement that its parent, telecommunications company AT&T Inc , had recently joined other business leaders in calling for legislation to address the issue of mass shootings in the United Sates.

"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," the statement added.

Twelve people were killed and 70 were wounded in 2012 during a midnight movie theatre showing of "The Dark Knight," also about the Joker character, in Aurora, Colorado, by a lone gunman who is now serving multiple life sentences.

"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," said the letter, dated Sept. 23 and signed by five men and women.

One of those signatories, Sandy Phillips, told the Hollywood Reporter in an interview that he feared that even one person who is "on the edge, who is wanting to be a mass shooter, may be encouraged by this movie. And that terrifies me."

Phoenix and "Joker" director Todd Phillips have defended the film against suggestions that it may encourage violence.

"I think we all are aware of these issues and we're concerned, and I think that's why we talk about it. I don't think that we can be afraid to talk about it," Phoenix told entertainment website IGN in an interview earlier this week.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant and Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Matthew Lewis)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Snow-struck Madrid struggles with cleanup as severe frost grips Spain
World

Snow-struck Madrid struggles with cleanup as severe frost grips Spain

By Elena Rodriguez and Belén Carreño MADRID (Reuters) - Authorities struggled to clear ice and fallen trees from the streets of Madrid on Tuesday and temperatures in parts of Spain hit record lows after a snowstorm wrought havoc across the country at the weekend. Early jubilation at the historic snowfall, which saw skiers gliding through the streets and mass snowball fights, gave way to frustration as most public transport remained stalled and pedestrians avoided the icy streets. "You in Madrid are not ready for this," said Demetrio, a Ukrainian living in Madrid, who did not give his last name.

Trump disavows any responsibility for his supporters' Jan. 6 attack
World

Trump disavows any responsibility for his supporters' Jan. 6 attack

By Steve Holland and Andrea Shalal JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md./WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump, facing impeachment on a charge of "incitement of insurrection" on Tuesday disavowed responsibility for his supporters' violent invasion of the U.S. Capitol last week and said his remarks before the siege were appropriate.

Renault and Plug Power to develop fuel-cell commerical vehicles
News & Analysis

Renault and Plug Power to develop fuel-cell commerical vehicles

PARIS (Reuters) - French carmaker Renault and U.S. hydrogen specialist Plug Power have joined forces to develop hydrogen-powered light commercial vehicles, they said on Tuesday. The companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to launch a France-based 50-50 joint venture by the end of the first half of 2021, targeting more than 30% share of the fuel cell-powered light commercial vehicle market in Europe, their joint statement said