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"Joker" won't play at Aurora theater where 2012 mass shooting occurred

A woman at a memorial for victims of the Aurora shooting in 2012
Kimber Avra sits by a cross honoring her friend Micayla Medek at a remembrance ceremony on July 20, 2013 in Aurora, Colo. Photo: Dana Romanoff/Getty Images

The Aurora, Colo., movie theater where a 2012 mass shooting took place during a screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" will not show the forthcoming "Joker," reports the Hollywood Reporter.

What's happening: Relatives and friends of those killed also penned a letter about their concerns to Warner Bros. regarding the new film's premiere. It states that they are "calling on [the studio] to be a part of the growing chorus of corporate leaders who understand that they have a social responsibility to keep us all safe."

  • The letter asks Warner Bros. to donate to groups that support victims of gun violence and not to donate to political candidates who support the NRA.

What they're saying: Some Aurora families have expressed concern that "Joker" — which features Joaquin Phoenix as a mentally ill antihero and killer who becomes Batman's foe — hits too close to home.

  • James Holmes, who killed 12 and injured 70 in the Aurora shooting, had dyed hair similar to the Joker's at the time of the shooting. It was also incorrectly reported that he referred to himself as "the Joker" at the time of his arrest — a connection likely spurred due to his decision to attack a screening of a Batman film.
  • Sandy Phillips, whose daughter Jessica Ghawi died during the shooting, told THR that the new film is like a "slap in the face" and expressed concern that the audience may connect with the volatile character and find inspiration in the film.

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