Todd Phillips’ movie the 'Joker' may have won the Venice Film Festival's top prize and broken box office records (it might well pick up some Oscars too), but its fame may live on longest in the Bronx.
Ever since the movie’s release, a set of stairs in the New York City borough has been lighting up Instagram with 'Joker' fans posting images of themselves dancing down it. Many try to recreate the memorable moves Joaquin Phoenix’s character Arthur Fleck makes on his route down the 131 stairs, while others either try to put their unique spin on the scene or simply stand and snap a selfie. If you’d like to see some of the latest takes, simply search Instagram for #jokerstairs.
Although home to Yankee Stadium, the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden, the neighbourhood has historically failed to become a popular tourist haunt due to people’s long-held view that the area is unsafe. Ironically, it’s a movie about a criminal mastermind that is opening visitors’ eyes to the new, friendlier face of the Bronx.
Residents who live around the stairs, which connect Shakespeare and Anderson avenues at West 167th Street, seem to be taking the new interest in the stairs in their stride. Some believe the increased publicity is a good thing, and will shed light on the new face of the Bronx and others believe the influx of visitors will benefit local businesses and thus bring financial benefits to the borough. However, some reports have said that some locals are frustrated by the crowds flocking there.
The Joker was released on 4 October and has already grossed some US$750 million globally – it’s expected to reach close to a billion dollars by the end of its run. Just how many people will visit the stairs in the years to come is anyone’s guess, but from the initial interest and the movie’s potentially legendary status, it may be of blockbuster proportions.