AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) — The new R-rated comic book film “Joker” will be released on October 4. But there’s one local theater that won’t be showing it. The Century Theater in Aurora, which was the site of a mass shooting during the premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” in July 2012, confirmed they do not plan on showing the film.
Joaquin Phoenix stars as "Joker" in the new film from Warner Bros.

Joaquin Phoenix stars as “Joker” in the new film from Warner Bros. (credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Sandy Phillips’ daughter, Jessica Ghawi, was one of 12 people killed in the Aurora theater shooting.

Jessica Ghawi (credit: CBS)

“When I saw the trailer I was very alarmed at what I was seeing and hearing. I was very concerned that people who have been affected by gun violence were going to react to the movie with PTSD,” Phillips told CBS4’s Dominic Garcia.

Families affected by the Aurora theater shooting recently wrote a letter to Warner Bros. expressing their concerns about the new movie. Specifically, the letter calls on the studio to end political contributions to candidates who take money from the NRA and vote against gun reform, actively lobby for gun reform and make contributions to groups that support survivors and aim to reduce gun violence.

CBS News has learned authorities are concerned about the film’s plot inspiring someone to commit a mass shooting.

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In a statement, Warner Bros. studio acknowledged that gun violence is “a critical issue” and said the company “has a long history of donating to victims of violence, including Aurora, and in recent weeks, our parent company joined other business leaders to call on policymakers to enact bi-partisan legislation to address this epidemic.”

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Since its premiere on the film festival circuit, “Joker” has found itself on the defense against those who criticize its violent imagery and are concerned it could fuel violent behavior.

In a recent interview with IGN, star Joaquin Phoenix admitted it was “uncomfortable” to think about, but, “I think we all are aware of these issues and we’re concerned, and I think that’s why we talk about it. I don’t think that we can be afraid to talk about it.” (Phoenix later walked out of another interview when confronted by a similar question, according to a journalist from the Telegraph.)

Director Todd Phillips has also said that the film is, in his view, “about a lack of love, childhood trauma, lack of compassion in the world,” according to IGN.

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The gunman in the Aurora theater shooting is currently serving multiple life sentences for the massacre, which killed 12 and injured 70 others.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. CNN contributed to this report.)