The “Joker” is stealing box office records, with a reported $39.8 million in ticket sales Friday — despite weeks of security concerns over possible movie theater attacks.
The film is on its way to smash director Todd Phillips’ career record of $85.9 million for the three-day opening of “The Hangover 2” and is slated to take in between $188 million and $194 million, Deadline reported. That’s just behind the October world opening record, which was set by “Venom” last year at $207.4 million.
In the weeks leading up to the thriller’s Thursday debut, law enforcement across the country, including the US Army and the NYPD, issued warnings of possible violence inspired by Joaquin Phoenix’s murderous clown character.
At least two theaters have canceled showings of the Warner Bros. flick because of threats.
A Huntington Beach, California, theater reopened Friday after a threat canceled Thursday “Joker” screenings, authorities said, without describing the nature of the threat, the Los Angeles Times reported.
There were no reports of violence at any showings as of Saturday morning, but a teen in North Carolina was arrested for threatening to “shoot up” a Wilmington cinema, according to the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office.
The suspect, 17-year-old Nikolai James Dixon Jr., allegedly posted the threat to social media sometime last week, the Wilmington Star-News reported.
Another California theater was targeted by a real-life joker who riffed on the Army’s warning about possible attacks by the “incel” community of involuntarily celibate men.
“We are enforcing a strict ‘NO GUYS WHO LOOK LIKE THEY’VE NEVER HAD SEX’ POLICY for tonight’s showings of JOKER due to safety precautions,” reads a sign posted inside an ArcLight Cinemas somewhere in LA, followed by a crude message about the male anatomy, according to images of the sign posted to social media.
ArcLight issued a public response to the sign, saying in a Tweet “it does not reflect our operational policies and has since been removed.”
By Sara Dorn