Seven years ago, a dozen people tragically lost their lives in a Colorado movie theater showing the Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises. Families of the victims have now expressed their apprehension to Warner Bros regarding the upcoming Joker movie. Warner Bros has stated that the movie – starring Joaquin Phoenix – is not supporting real-life violence.
Sandy Phillips – the mother of one the victims from the Colorado shootings – and her husband Lonnie who manage the anti-gun violence group, Survivors Empowered, voiced their concerns to Warner Bros among several other family members of 2012 incident.
The families feelings about the new film
Sandy Phillips commented, “When I first saw the trailers of the movie, I was absolutely horrified. And then when I dug a little deeper and found out that it had such unnecessary violence in the movie, it just chilled me to my bones. It just makes me angry that a major motion picture company isn’t taking responsibility and doesn’t have the concern of the public at all.”
The letter to Warner Bros read, “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. We support your right to free speech and free expression. But as anyone who has ever seen a comic book movie can tell you: 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 called for Warner Bros to lobby for gun reform, assist with funding survivor funds and gun violence intervention programs, and stop political contributions to candidates who accept handouts from the NRA.
The studio responded by saying that they have “a long history of donating to victims of violence”, such as the case of the Colorado movie theater shooting. It continued to say, “Make no mistake, 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 controversial origin story of Batman’s arch enemy received a lot of criticism over its depiction of mental illness and violence.