A prankster has been banned from AMC Theatres for posting a fake flyer claiming that Joker screenings have a "No Singles Allowed" policy. It's a joke that's almost believable, considering the heightened concerns around the release of the movie. Landmark Theatres banned makeup and costumes from Joker screenings, and in some major cities there was an increased police presence in anticipation of the movie possibly inspiring a mass shooter.
Joker stars Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, a lonely and miserable man who becomes a clown-faced killer after being pushed too far by society. In 2012 there was a mass shooting at a screening of The Dark Knight in Aurora, Colorado, and between that tragedy and Joker's storyline, some have feared that another shooting could occur. Fortunately, so far the most disruptive things to happen at Joker screenings have been a man cheering at the violent murders and spitting at other patrons, and two men who were kicked out for smoking in the theater and blowing smoke in other attendees faces.
Some have been turning all this hyped-up concern into joke material. At an ArcLight theater in Los Angeles, a flyer was posted claiming that Joker screenings were "enforcing a strict 'No guys who look like they've never had sex' policy." Twitter user @jinpayn also decided to have some fun at the expense of the Joker panic, and posted a picture of a flyer he'd created and planted at an AMC theater in Orange, California, that claimed there was a "no singles policy" for Joker screenings. @jinpayn later shared an e-mail he'd received from AMC, saying that he'd been observed putting the sign up before his screening in order to take a photo, and putting it up again later in the evening. The letter concludes by forbidding him from returning to AMC theaters, adding that if does return he will be considered a trespasser and may be arrested by law enforcement.
Though AMC's response might seem like an overreaction, the theater chain is understandably annoyed after taking heat from those who believed the flyer was real. The AMC Guest Services Twitter account was forced to reply to dozens of users with the clarification, "This sign was not posted by us, and this is not our policy. The sign was removed as soon as it was found by the theatre." Since the flyer had the official logos for both Joker and AMC Theatres, it was actually fairly convincing - aside from the idea that a theater chain would actually ban people from seeing a movie alone.
THR confirmed that AMC's letter to @jinpayn (whose real last name is Payne) is real, unlike the flyer. Explaining why he posted the flyer, Payne said:
"It was kinda just something for my friends to laugh about. The theater no-singles policy has been a long-running joke online and has evolved to other more absurd claims such as a singles tax, theater metal detectors, theater penis inspection, etc. So I joke about that with them — and I do go to the movies alone so I’ve always found the joke funny."
So, while Joker may not have inspired any real-life killers, the movie has certainly inspired some real-life jokers.