An audience at a screening of Joker on opening weekend self-evacuated a Long Beach theater after a man was acting suspiciously.
According to the Long Beach Post, police were dispatched to the Regal Edwards theater in Long Beach Towne Centre on Saturday after they received calls that there were shots coming from the theater. Long Beach police spokeswoman Arantxa Chavarria said that the moviegoers self-evacuated the theater because of a “suspicious subject inside.”
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The official Long Beach Police Department posted a statement on their official Facebook page saying, “Officers were on scene within a minute of dispatch & discovered patrons had self-evacuated due to a suspicious male adult who was wearing a backpack and looking out at the crowd near an emergency exit inside the theater.”
They added, “The suspect was detained and was not found in possession of any weapons, however he was taken into custody for an unrelated outstanding warrant.”
This comes after the Cinemark Century Huntington Beach and XD cineplex closed on October 3 after receiving word of a “credible threat” surrounding the movie.
In the weeks leading up to the release of Joker, the Warner Bros. film 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. Last month, several of the Aurora victims’ families spoke 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.”
During the film’s premiere last week, there was heightened security but luckily there were no threats. However, police from Los Angeles to New York still remained vigilant during opening weekend. 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.”