‘Joker’ trumps box office despite critics, political outlets

Robert Juarez

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DC’s “Joker” became the first R-rated movie ever to cross the $1 billion mark on Nov. 15 and did so without the help of the Chinese market. The Todd Phillips directed comic book movie opened with a mostly poor score of 69% from critics but a high praise of 89% from the audience, according to Rotten Tomatoes. 

Although the less-than-stellar score from critics is technically a fresh rating, it is just 10% above rotten. The low score was due, in part, to the vitriol critiques the corporate media had for the movie. In their minds, “Joker” would inspire others to cause violence in movie theaters across the nation. 

The corporate media was wrong and it manufactured a fake crisis by publishing stories about potential violence based on rumors that they carelessly tied to “Joker” leading up to the general opening in order to bury the movie. 

CNN ran a Sept. 25 story about a letter from a group of people who lost family members in the 2012 Aurora theater shooting during a screening of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises.”  The letter, sent to Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff, asked for her help in gun ownership reform. 

The request did not express any desire for “Joker” to be pulled from theaters, nor did it mention that any screenings would be at risk for copycat shooters. They simply said the movie “gave us pause.”

Yet CNN tied “Joker” to a story which should have been solely about gun ownership reforms. Instead, they forced “Joker” into the headline and story for clicks a couple of weeks before the movie’s premiere. 

A Sept. 22 Huffington Post article also made the false connection between “Joker” and possible acts of violence by citing the Aurora shooter. In the original article, they referenced to rumors that the shooter identified himself as the Joker, or was molded by the character to commit horrific acts. The site later posted a correction detailing their error. 

The false connections between “Joker” and a mass shooter event that happened seven years ago is an egregious mistake by Huffington Post and the story’s writer.  

The Aurora shooting is the central link in this false narrative perpetuated by CNN and others. In an Oct. 3 story, one day before the general release of the film, CNN reported the FBI and other federal authorities were on alert for potential acts of violence at movie screenings of “Joker.”  

CNN acknowledged in the story that, “federal authorities write that the FBI has no information leading to ‘specific or credible threats to particular locations or venues,’ but note that the FBI received tips of threats posted on social media since at least May.”

The article was based on tips, not concrete threats gathered by the FBI, but on rumors most likely from online trolls.