As the discourse surrounding Joker continues to be a hot topic ahead of the DC's film's release, Warner Bros. has finally broken its silence on the matter. The studio has issued a statement addressing the controversy regarding Joker, and the fear it could inspire real-life acts of violence. This statement comes following a letter of concern penned by those affected by the 2012 mass shooting in Aurora, Colo. - which occurred during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises.
"Make no mistake: neither the fictional character Joker, nor the film, is an endorsement of real-world violence of any kind," Warner Bros. said in its statement. "It is not the intention of the film, the filmmakers or the studio to hold this character up as a hero.
"Gun violence in our society is a critical issue, and we extend our deepest sympathy to all victims and families impacted by these tragedies," the studio continued. "Our company has a long history of donating to victims of violence, including Aurora, and in recent weeks, our parent company joined other business leaders to call on policymakers to enact bipartisan legislation to address this epidemic. At the same time, Warner Bros. believes that one of the functions of storytelling is to provoke difficult conversations around complex issues."
In the months leading up to its theatrical launch, there has been a fair bit of discussion related to Joker's potential influence on those who view it and the perceived dangers of the film. Director Todd Phillips previously addressed these concerns, saying he considers them to be unfounded. Phillips' sentiment was largely echoed by Joaquin Phoenix, the film's star. Nevertheless, in addition to the aforementioned letter, Joker will not be screened at the theater where the Aurora shooting took place.
Directed by Todd Phillips, Joker stars Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Bill Camp, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Douglas Hodge, Marc Maron, Josh Pais and Shea Whigham. The film arrives in theaters Oct. 4.