Joker movie too violent for kids, Alamo Drafthouse warns parents

Don't be fooled into thinking this is a mainstream Batman film.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper

If parents heed warnings, some kids might not see this guy on the big screen. 

Niko Tavernise

Kids might take Batman lunchboxes to school, or sleep on Batman sheets, but that doesn't mean they should see the upcoming Joker movie starring Joaquin Phoenix as the Caped Crusader's nemesis, the Alamo Drafthouse says. 

In a Facebook post Tuesday, the theater chain warned parents that the R-rated film, which opens this weekend, is inappropriate for kids.

"Parental warning (this is not a joke)," the post reads. "Joker is rated R, and for good reason. There's lots of very, very rough language, brutal violence, and overall bad vibes. It's a gritty, dark, and realistic Taxi Driver-esque depiction of one man's descent into madness. It's not for kids, and they won't like it, anyway. (There's no Batman.)"

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The MPAA movie-ratings site notes that Joker is "rated R for strong bloody violence, disturbing behavior, language and brief sexual images."

There's been some apprehension about the film. Landmark Theatres, the biggest US independent cinema chain, said it won't let people wear costumes or masks to Joker showings. The AMC theater chain had already banned masks or face paint (though not costumes) in its more than 650 cinemas after a 2012 shooting during a Colorado showing of The Dark Knight Rises.  

CNET critic Richard Trenholm calls Joker an "intense, troubling movie" and notes that "it's hard to see the point being made when there's no heroic Batman representing the other side of the scarred coin."  

Joker is out in Australia on Oct. 3, and then worldwide on Oct. 4.

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