A 9:30 PM showing of the Joker film at Paris' Grand Rex theater was interrupted by a 34-year-old man who began by saying “it’s political” several times before standing up and screaming "Allahu akbar!” that translates to "God is great" in Arabic. The Hollywood Reporter details how some viewers panicked and quickly dashed to the nearest exits. 


Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

“It was total panic,” a viewer named Victor told Le Parisien. “People jumped over seats and women fell to the ground in the aisles.” The unidentified man was trampled by staff and security but managed to escape before police located him outside. According to the publication, the whole ordeal was part of a scheme to steal purses and merchandise from moviegoers.  "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," the theatre's director explained. 

The Grand Rex holds up to 500 viewers for films and this particular night had 200 guests for the film's screening, with only 25 reported to exit. Once the film was complete, police and the bomb squad searched for weapons and explosives but nothing was found.