Police: 2 Men Taken Into Custody After Smoking, Causing Disturbance At AMC River East ‘Joker’ Screening

Chicago News

CHICAGO (CBS/AP) — A disturbance disrupted a screening of “Joker” Sunday evening at the AMC River East 21 movie theater in Streeterville.

At 7:17 p.m., police were called for a disturbance at the theater at 322 E. Illinois St.

Witnesses reported two 23-year-old man were smoking and causing loud noises in the theater. Both were taken into custody without incident and charges were pending, police said.

No injuries were reported.

Police said people left the theater during the incident, but there were no injuries or issues finding the disruptors. They declined to call it a full-blown panic that would have involved people running from the theater.

“Joker” opened on Friday, and Chicago Police took action ahead of time amid worries about threats and warnings surrounding the film.

Some theatres are also setting rules about what moviegoers can and can’t do. All Landmark Theatres are not allowing costumes, so that means no masks for moviegoers.

AMC is reminding moviegoers about its seven-year ban on masks and face paints.

Authorities are worried about the movie possibly inspiring someone to commit a mass shooting.

Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said officers have been directed to provide special attention if theaters showing “Joker” are on their beat.

Meanwhile, at least one other incident involving a screening of “Joker” has reported in the country. It did not involve any violence.

At the AMC Empire 25 theater in Times Square in New York on Friday night, a young fan sent some people heading to the exits as he loudly cheered on-screen murders in the movie.

Social media users also posted photos of police, security sweeps and safety notices at theaters in California and Florida. And in Tennessee, a drive-in theater banned moviegoers from wearing costumes to a screening of the R-rated “Joker,” which scored an October box-office record with $13.3 million in earnings.

The Warner Bros. film, directed by Todd Phillips, presents the backstory of the man who becomes Batman’s classic foe. Starring Joaquin Phoenix, it probes the journey of a disturbed man with a penetrating laugh into a killer.

While Phillips has said he hopes the film inspires discussions about guns, violence and the treatment of people with mental illness, some feared the movie could inspire violence, particularly after a mass shooting killed 12 at a Colorado theater during a screening of another Batman movie in 2012.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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