Cinemark said Friday it would not be making a statement about the closure at this time, saying the Huntington Beach PD will have more information later in the day. It did confirm that the venue is selling tickets for today’s shows — its website showed a full slate of times for Joker screenings beginning at 10:45 AM PT. A total of 28 screenings of the movie are on the Friday schedule — 10 in the XD format.
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The Century Huntington Beach and XD has 13 films on its schedule today.
The Los Angeles Times said that Huntington Beach police were sent to the theater, located at the Bella Terra shopping center on Edinger Street, at about 5 PM PT Thursday after receiving the threat. According to a schedule posted on its site, the theater canceled all films scheduled to run after 4:45 PM, the LAT reported.
There were no further details about the nature of the threat, and there were no further incidents. But the Orange County Register reported that a Huntington Beach police spokesperson said the threat “was specific to the [Joker] movie and the theater.”
There has been much concern over potential incidents surrounding the Warner Bros/Village Roadshow pic centered on Batman’s arch-enemy, played by Joaquin Phoenix. Its depiction of violence has raised eyebrows in a year of mass shootings across the nation, along with its IP connection to the July 2012 shooting in Aurora, CO at the midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises that killed 12 and wounded 70.
Joker last month prompted several of the Aurora victims’ families to speak out about concerns over the film. In response, Warner Bros sought to address those concerns and promised “it is not the intention of the film, the filmmakers or the studio to hold this character up as a hero.”
Police from Los Angeles to New York are being vigilant as the film opens wide today across the country. Theater chains including AMC and Landmark have issued bans on masks being worn by patrons and other concealments. The Cinemark site’s Joker listings page highlights its “costume policy” which states “that masks, hats, helmets that cover the face, and face painting are not allowed within the theatre or auditoriums. Additionally, simulated weapons are not permitted in the theatre or auditorium.”
Nationwide, Joker opened Thursday night to $13.3 million, topping Sony’s Venom as the highest-grossing October preview night ever at the domestic box office.
Dade Hayes contributed to this report.