Moviegoers head out to see ‘The Joker’ despite safety concerns

Reporter: Nicole Gabe
Published: Updated:
Regal Bell Tower (WINK News)

A mysterious and electrifying joker creating buzz nationwide.

“We’re really excited about seeing ‘The Joker,'” said moviegoer Denise Lugo.

She made her way to the Regal Bell Tower in Fort Myers, excited to see actor Joaquin Phoenix’s performance.

“I loved the first movie, ‘The Dark Knight,’ and I was anticipating the second one and, unfortunately, [Heath Ledger] passed away,” said Lugo.

But this Joker has also raised some eyebrows.

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security warned law enforcement after online threats called for mass shootings at movie showings.

Lugo hadn’t heard of the warning.

“I didn’t think much about it before,” she said. “And now, it’s scary and I’m glad I came during the day.”

Others are concerned.

“I just hope no bad things happen after the show,” said moviegoer, Maryln.

This comes after the 2012 mass shooting at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater on the opening night of “The Dark Knight Rises,” another Batman movie.

WINK News safety and security specialist Rich Kolko says social media plays a key role.

“Social media is kind of driving the bus a little bit. If it hadn’t been such a build up there, then law enforcement wouldn’t have had the response that they had and if social media didn’t know they could inspire that response to law enforcement, then maybe there wouldn’t be that type of posting,” he said.

Kolko is also a former FBI agent.

“The two of them are going to meet. The only prudent thing to do is, theater owners and moviegoers, be on alert,” he said.

Even with the warnings, moviegoers say you can’t live your life in fear.

“I think you should just go live your life and if you want to go watch it, then watch it! Yeah, just live your life, go watch the movie don’t fear anything, that’s it,” said Kolko.

Fear or no fear, the show will go on.

We spoke to some area movie theaters and most have a no costume and no weapon policy.

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office says they are working closely with theater managers and have discussed the movie with them.

They also have an enhanced presence in light of the attention the movie is receiving.

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