Warner Bros. Entertainment restricted access for print and broadcast journalists from the red carpet at the U.S. premiere of Joker.
With a quick quip and a plea to let his film stand alone as art, director Todd Philips unveiled Joker to an audience of executives and glitterati at the film’s Hollywood premiere last Saturday. Forgoing the usual introduction of cast and producers, Phillips made a joke to the audience at Los Angeles’ TCL Chinese Theater: “If you like the movie, tell a friend, we haven’t gotten enough press.”
The Joker premiere event received heightened attention after it was reported that Warner Bros. would not invite print and broadcast press to conduct interviews on the event’s red carpet, opting only for photos at the TCL Chinese Theater. As reported by Variety, security was tight but not excessive, with check-in perimeters extending a few feet more than normal for premieres, and traffic on a shut-down Hollywood Blvd. condensed to a single lane for major arrivals. Car interiors and trunks were inspected by police with dogs.
The move to reduce access to the director and stars like Phoenix (in the titular, notoriously dark role) and leading lady Zazie Beetz comes as law enforcement and theater owners are anxiously preparing for the October 4th wide release.
Mid-sized theater chain Landmark is prohibiting costumes based on Phoenix’s turn as the iconic Batman villain. Last Thursday, it was announced that the Los Angeles Police Department would ramp up visibility at area theaters. The department said it has not received any specific threats about the movie, but encouraged moviegoers to be watchful.
Considering how long the Joker as a character has been around, this whole affair seems silly and unnecessary to me. Regardless, hopefully the theaters on October 4th are just visited by the usual assortment of weirdos, and not anyone actually dangerous. That whole “Area 51 raid” managed to work out without much incident or animosity, so I believe a comic book movie launch should stay about as civil.