October 20, 2019


Then there is CNN, which went big reporting on all things Joker.

“’Joker breaks records despite warnings about violence,” read one headline.

Other CNN headlines read, Joker premiere sparks security concerns,” Joker hits movie theaters with controversy and extra security,” “Aurora victim’s family upset over Joker storyline,” Joker spurs security precautions from the US Army and the Los Angeles police,” Joker expected to break box office records as controversy and anxiety swirls,” Joker shatters box office records despite its controversial depiction of violence,” and Joker uses a song by convicted pedophile Gary Glitter. He’s probably making money off it.”

Now is a good time to remind you that CNN is a subsidiary of Warner Media, which also owns Warner Bros. In other words, these CNN headlines are what we in the news and entertainment business call “cross-promotion.”

The B-movie horror director William Castle was famous for building up a moral panic around his movies in the late 1950s to gin-up plenty of PR. And of course, being known as “Banned in Boston” did nothing but generate additional sales for dozens of lurid novels and movies from the late 19th century until the 1970s. As with Disney’s recent efforts to generate controversy over a black Little Mermaid, Warner Brothers and CNN are apparently simply bringing those promotional efforts into the 21st century.

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