The incident was reported by Le Parisien, which noted that the 34-year-old man was removed from the Grand Rex theater and placed under psychiatric observation.
According to a witness, the man first started repeatedly shouting “It’s political!,” at first drawing laughs from the audience. Soon other audience members were asking him to “shut up” while others grew worried, the witness said.
After the shouts of “It’s political,” the man stood up, placed his hands on his chest and “started yelling Allahu akbar!,” or God is great in Arabic.
The witness told Le Parisien, “People panicked, ran to the exits. Some were crying. A mother was looking for her daughter.” Another witness said some moviegoers climbed over seats to exit, while others were on the floor and being stepped over.
Although the suspect left the scene, police were able to track him down from the phone and jacket he left at the theater. Le Parisien reported that some audience members stayed to finish the film.
Tensions, so far mostly unwarranted, have greeted some screenings since Joker opened. Earlier this month, an audience at a Long Beach theater self-evacuated after a man began acting suspiciously.
According to the Long Beach Post, police were dispatched to the Regal Edwards theater in Long Beach Towne Centre on Saturday after they received calls that there were shots coming from the theater. Long Beach police spokeswoman Arantxa Chavarria said that the moviegoers self-evacuated the theater because of a “suspicious subject inside.” Police arrived and did not find the man in possession of any weapons, however the suspect was taken into custody for an unrelated outstanding warrant.