NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Police in major U.S. cities were on alert on Thursday as “Joker” opened in movie theaters after weeks of publicity surrounding its disturbing portrait of a bullied loner raised fears it might spark violence.
“Joker,” an origin story about Batman’s comic-book arch nemesis, stars Joaquin Phoenix in what movie reviewers have called a brilliant but terrifying performance as a mentally unhinged outcast who unwittingly finds fame through an act of violence.
The DC Comics villain is associated with a 2012 mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, a suburb of Denver, during a screening of a different Batman film, “The Dark Knight Rises.” Families of some of the victims expressed concern about the new film, and it will not be shown in the Aurora multiplex.
Officers wearing helmets and armed with assault rifles stood outside a screening of “Joker” at the New York Film Festival on Wednesday night, where audiences had their bags…
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