UK theaters are reinstating a film about rival gangs after initially removing it when seven police officers were injured during a brawl at an entertainment complex.
UK theater chain Showcase is reinstating movie #BlueStory with “increased security protocols” after youths ignited a police operation at the Star City multiplex in Birmingham. Another theater chain, Vue, banned the film from its 91 UK and Ireland venues.
“The decision to withdraw Blue Story was not one taken lightly or without careful consideration of our experience across the country,” Vue said in a statement. “The film opened in 60 of our sites across the UK and Ireland on Friday 22 November, but during the first 24 hours of the film over 25 significant incidents were reported and escalated to senior management in 16 separate cinemas. This is the biggest number we have ever seen for any film in a such a short time frame.”
However, after receiving backlash online with people calling the move “racist,” Showcase decided to reinstate the film after an investigation of the incident.
“We took the decision to temporarily suspend screenings of Blue Story to enable us to assess the situation. After careful consideration and discussions with the distributor in the last 24 hours, we have come up with a plan to re-instate screenings of the film supported with increased security protocols and will be doing so from this evening. We want to reassure our guests that their safety – and that of our staff members – is our absolute priority.”
Paramount UK and Backer BBC Films also released statements addressing the horrific incident and mentioning that the removal of the film was disheartening. “We are appalled by the incident at Star City and our thoughts are with all those affected by it. Blue Story is an outstanding, critically acclaimed debut feature which powerfully depicts the futility of gang violence. It’s an important film from one of the UK’s most exciting new filmmakers which we’re proud to be part of,” said Backer BBC Films.
After the film was pulled, the film’s writer and director, #AndrewOnwubolu, said the disturbance was “truly unfortunate” and he hoped it was not an “indictment” of the film. ITV news presenter #CharleneWhite took to Twitter to call out Vue and Showcase for its recklessness in targeting Blue Story for an unrelated incident. “Seriously #Vuecinemas?! Clearly an isolated incident at one of your locations, but you choose to blame #BlueStoryMovie & ban it from ALL your venues. Utterly ridiculous.”