DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – If you’re looking to dress up as your favorite Batman villain next weekend, you may need to double-check which theater you’re going to. Landmark Theatres has confirmed they are banning costumes, face painting and masks when the new “Joker” movie hits screens.
Controversy has surrounded the movie ahead of its Oct. 4 premiere as many, especially families of mass shooting victims, are concerned it could incite violence.
Warner Bros’ “Joker” stars Joaquin Phoenix in the title role of the infamous Batman and DC Comics villain. The story centers around the character Arthur Fleck as certain points of his life lead him to become the classic villain.
The costume ban at Landmark Theatres comes as worries arose about the movie’s message concerning mental illness and violence.
Two theaters in Dallas, The Magnolia and Inwood Theatre, are both operated by Landmark Theatres. The other Texas location is the River Oaks Theatre in Houston.
In a statement to CBS 11 News, Landmark Theatres would only say, “We don’t comment on anything to do with operating procedures, but we are not allowing costumes, face painting or masks by either our employees or guests.”
One military division has already warned law enforcement about the potential for violence during the screenings of “Joker” after extremists posts were apparently sent through social media.
The concerns over the movie’s release have also put a spotlight on the mass shooting at an Aurora, Colorado theater that killed 12 people during a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in July 2012.
In a letter to Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff, the families of the victims of that shooting said in part, “This tragic event, perpetrated by a socially isolated individual who felt ‘wronged’ by society has changed the course of our lives. As a result, we have committed ourselves to ensuring no other family ever has to go through the absolute hell we have experienced and the pain we continue to live with.”
Warner Bros. issued a statement in response that read:
“Gun violence in our society is a critical issue, and we extend our deepest sympathy to all victims and families impacted by these tragedies. 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 bi-partisan 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. 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.”