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'Joker' Movie Sparking Fears Among Victims Of Mass Shootings, Claims Film Will Inspire Copycat Attacks

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Warner Brothers Studio and its film "Joker" has become part of the gun safety debate.

Despite pre-release acting accolades, relatives of mass shooting victims who have seen the trailer for the movie are expressing deep concerns – fearing it could spark a repeat of the massacre inside Colorado cinema seven years ago.

Box office analysts expect the R-rated film "Joker" to be a blockbuster when it is released next week.

Actor Joaquin Phoenix signs the movie's poster for a fan as he arrives for the screening of the film "Joker" on August 31, 2019 presented in competition during the 76th Venice Film Festival at Venice Lido. (Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP/Getty Images)

"Are they going to make a profit on our lives," Linda Beigel Schulman, the mother of Parkland shooting victim Scott Beigel said.

The Dix Hills mother lost her son Florida school shooting in 2018. She calls the decision "irresponsible" to present the comic book villain Joker – a violent, mentally ill loner – as sympathetic.

"This movie is really fueling the fire for anybody even thinking about being a copycat of a mass shooter," Beigel Schulman said.

A scene from the new film 'Joker' starring Joaquin Phoenix. (Credit: Warner Bros.)

Relatives of those killed during the 2012 movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado sent a letter to Warner Brothers – the studio that released the Batman film series – challenging them to lobby for gun reform and fund survivor intervention programs.

"We want them to have civic responsibility, corporate responsibility, and do the right thing by survivors of gun violence," said Sandy Phillips, whose daughter was killed in Aurora.

That movie theater massacre ended with 12 people murdered, 70 injured during a screening of "The Dark Knight Rises."

That Colorado movie theater will not show "Joker" when it is released.

Colorado Movie Theater Shooting
The Century 16 movie theatre is seen where police said a gunmen attacked movie goers during an early morning screening of the new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises" July 20, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. (Photo by Thomas Cooper/Getty Images)

Locally, several independent and corporate movie managers and owners tell CBS2 extra security will be on hand.

Studies have shown no direct link between violence in movies and violence in the real world.

"Batman has a big history with all the movies that have been out and I don't think the movie is going to have an effect on anybody with any issues," one person said.

"Hollywood… a lot of people look at them as role models and I don't think they are helping the situation at all," another person argued.

"Any crowded place I am definitely a lot more on edge especially as of late," one New Yorker added.

The Department of Homeland Security is sending alerts to their offices – warning of chatter on the dark web – but they reportedly have no specific threats.

"If there is a movie with violent content, watch the trailer, know what your kids are seeing," Nassau County Executive Laura Curran urged.

Police departments everywhere are monitoring the situation. They say you should have a safety strategy in mind if ever confronted by an active shooter.

Warner Brothers says it has donated to victims of gun violence in the past. They added the movie is not an endorsement of violence. Its parent company is calling for bipartisan legislation to address gun violence.

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