Extra layers of security, intense on-screen action, and a frightening incident inside a New York theater combined to create an unsettling experience for some moviegoers who went to see Joker on its opening weekend, the AP reports. A young man who was loudly cheering and applauding on-screen murders sent some people heading toward exits in a crowded theater in Manhattan's Times Square on Friday night. Other patrons yelled at the man, who spit on them as they left early, said Nathanael Hood, who was in the theater. "I was scared. I'm sure a lot of other people were," Hood said in an interview conducted by private messages. Social media users 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. (See how Joker did in previews.)