Joker screening is evacuated at Paris cinema after member of the audience screams ‘Allahu Akbar!’
- Screening of Joker in Paris cinema evacuated after a man shouted ‘Alluha akbar’
- His words caused widespread panic as cinema-goers scrambled for the exit
- Man, 32, from Boulogne-Billancourt found to be unarmed, taken into custody
A screening of Joker in a Paris cinema was evacuated after a man shouted the words ‘Allahu akbar’, causing widespread panic.
People had turned out for a 9.30pm viewing of the film at the Grand Rex cinema on Sunday evening but only got half way through the film before the shock interruption occurred.
The man was overheard saying several times ‘It’s political’ while others in the audience asked him to be quiet.
He then stood up from his seat and placed his hands on his chest before shouting ‘Allahu akbar!’.
A screening of ‘Joker’ in a Paris cinema was evacuated after a man shouted the words ‘Allahu akbar’, causing widespread panic
The Grand Rex cinema (pictured) which dates back to 1932 was evacuated before being searched by a bomb squad and dogs for any weapons or explosives
His actions caused panic and chaos inside the cinema as people scrambled from their seats and made for the exit, as people incorrectly claimed the man had a gun, Le Parisien reported.
‘It was total panic,’ one audience member named Victor told the publication.
‘People jumped over seats and women fell to the ground in the aisles.’
The man who shouted the words, which mean ‘God is great’ in Arabic and have come to be associated with radical Islamic terrorism, tried to leave the cinema.
He managed to exit the building despite other cinema-goers and a security guard trying to wrestle him to the ground, but was stopped by Paris police outside and taken into custody.
The man, who was found to be unarmed, was later identified as a 34-year-old from the Paris suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt.
Grand Rex management said that Joker attracts ‘a specific kind of viewer, notably people who are against the system’
The Grand Rex cinema which dates back to 1932 was evacuated before being searched by a bomb squad and dogs for any weapons or explosives, none of which were found.
‘They were two thieves looking for a way to take people’s phones and bags. Apparently they had already used the same tactic once on a train,’ he said.
The man was released from custody on Monday evening and subsequently given a psychiatric examination, according to the publication.
According to Le Parisien, the cinema’s management said that the newly-released film attracts ‘a specific kind of viewer, notably people who are against the system.
‘There have been minor incidents in other theaters.’
One of the cinema’s directors later offered a different explanation, telling The Hollywood Reporter that the theatre, which has the capacity to hold 500 audience members, was about 200-full during the screening and roughly 25 audience members fled, with the rest staying until the end of the film.
The spokesperson said the man had been working with an accomplice to deliberately create a disruption in the cinema in an attempt to steal people’s personal items.
Joker was released in the UK on October 4 and recently became the most successful R-rated movie in history, collecting $849 million worldwide.
Joaquin Phoenix’s gritty take on Batman’s infamous nemesis has generated $277 million in North America and $571 million at the international box office.