Cinema chain Showcase has pulled new movie Blue Story from its 21 venues after a brawl involving machetes took place in a cinema in Birmingham.
It follows the controversial earlier decision by Vue Cinemas to pull the movie from its 91 cinemas over the weekend after the incident broke out at one of its venues.
- Read more: Micheal Ward on gritty postcode war drama Blue Story: “We’re not glorifying anything – we’re just showing how it is”
The incident involved up to 100 youngsters at a family leisure and entertainment complex in Nechells, Birmingham on Saturday (November 23), believed to have been sparked by a riot at Vue.
Reports suggest customers were evacuated as emergency services arrived before the cinema was closed by managers.
Six teenagers were arrested on suspicion of violent disorder, with five since released on bail. Seven police officers were injured, with police saying that two machetes and a knife were recovered from the scene.
However, the decision to pull the movie from Vue and Showcase has been criticised, with #BoycottVue and #NoBlueNoVue campaigns starting on social media, while West Midlands police have said the decision was not based on official police advice.
“We’ve made no recommendations to Vue at all,” Chief Superintendent Steve Graham said (via The Guardian). “If they choose to continue showing it, that’s a matter for them.”
Blue Story follows the story of two friends who become rivals in a London gangland war, and is directed by Rapman, aka Andrew Onwubolu.
— Rapman (@RealRapman) November 24, 2019
The director has since responded to the incident, saying on Twitter that his movie was “about love, not violence”, adding: “I hope that the blame is placed with the individuals and not an indictment of the film itself”.
Distributor Paramount has also responded, saying in a statement to Screen: “We were saddened to see the events that unfolded at Star City and our sympathies are with all those affected.
“We feel that this is an important film, which we’ve seen play in more than 300 cinemas across the country, with incredibly positive reactions and fantastic reviews. We thank all our exhibition partners for their ongoing support.”
Production company BBC Films added: “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.”
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