Two major UK cinema circuits have pulled Brit movie Blue Story following a disturbance at a Vue venue in the city of Birmingham.
Police officers were called to reports of youths with machetes at the Star City multiplex on Saturday evening. Officers ultimately cleared around 100 youths from the venue and recovered two machetes and a knife from the scene.
An officer at the scene explained, “This was a major outbreak of trouble which left families who were just trying to enjoy a night out at the cinema understandably frightened. We worked quickly to move the crowds on, but were met with a very hostile response and officers had to draw Tasers to restore order. It’s clear that some of those who went to Star City were intent on causing trouble.”
Five teenagers, including a 13-year-old girl, were arrested with Vue cinemas banning the film from its 91 outlets in the UK and Ireland in response. Showcase has also dropped the hard-hitting BBC Films-backed crime-drama about two friends who become rivals in a vicious London gangland war. The film, released on Friday, has garnered positive reviews and a BIFA nomination.
Fellow UK major Odeon told the BBC it was not withdrawing the film, but had “a number of security measures in place” for screenings. Cineworld is also screening the movie, which was released by Paramount UK on more than 300 cinemas nationwide.
A spokesperson for UK cinema chain Showcase said, “The safety of our guests is of the utmost importance. Due to the recent incidents tied to screenings of the film Blue Story, after careful consideration with the film's distributor, Showcase Cinemas has immediately removed the film from our all of our participating cinemas. Any guests that have purchased tickets in advance can receive a full refund at the cinema box office. We remain in discussions with the distributor with regards to the possibility of re-introducing the film in due course. We apologise for any inconvenience but guest safety remains our top priority.”
Paramount UK commented, “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.”
After the film was pulled, the film’s writer and director, Andrew Onwubolu, aka musician and YouTuber Rapman, said the disturbance was “truly unfortunate” and he hoped it was not an “indictment” of the film.
Soon after it announced the worldwide delay of A Quiet Place Part II, Paramount Studios is shuffling its entire film release schedule amid the escalating coronavirus pandemic. Coronavirus aka COVID-19 has affected two more Paramount releases, with the studio pulling the release of the upcoming films The Lovebirds and Blue Story. No new release date has been set for either film yet.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Paramount is pulling the release of two more films amid coronavirus concerns. The Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae comedy The Lovebirds, originally slated to open April 3, has been pushed back, as has the teen gang drama Blue Story, originally sceduled for March 20. Neither film has been scheduled for a new release date yet.
The Lovebirds, which stars Nanjiani and Rae as a couple framed for murder, was set in April as comedy counterprogramming to the summer tentpole slate. Meanwhile, Blue Story, which was slated for limited release on the same weekend of A Quiet Place Part II, is a low-budget feature adaptation of Rapman’s YouTube series about two young friends who become rivals in a street war. As mid- to low-budget films with less of a pull than big IPs like A Quiet Place, they would be due to suffer financially from reluctant audiences concerned about coronavirus.
Theaters remain open in the U.S., but it seems more likely that some theaters could go dark. Internationally, theaters across China and Italy have shuttered, while there are widespread closures in South Korea and France.
The delays comes hours after Paramount announced that it was delaying the global release of A Quiet Place Part II, whose delay came piecemeal after initial reports of the film getting pulled from international release. It comes mere minutes after Universal pushed its tentpole blockbuster F9 by a year, delaying the action film to 2021. Major delays for film releases were expected after MGM kicked off the pushbacks with No Time to Die, followed by Sony’s Peter Rabbit 2 and STXfilms’ My Spy. But the sudden barrage of film delays follows immediately after a frantic 24 hours which saw the White House announce a travel ban in Europe, the House and Senate closed for session, and the NBA suspend its current season.
EXCLUSIVE: Spectrum Originals is developing Tinseltown, a period drama series based on William J Mann's 2014 bestselling book Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, And Madness At The Dawn of Hollywood. The project hails from Mann, The Son executive producer Kevin Murphy, Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment, Tracy Katsky’s KatCo and Paramount Television Studios.
Co-written by Murphy and Mann, Tinseltown is set against the seamy, glamorous backdrop of silent film era. It explores the lives of four pioneer women filmmakers whose lives and livelihoods were threatened by a scandalous murder and the brutal patriarchy of Hollywood's nascent studio system.
What the description refers to is the famously unsolved murder of William Desmond Taylor, the popular president of the Motion Picture Directors Association.
“The show centers on four accomplished women filmmakers who get dragged into the grotesque media circus surrounding a murder,” Murphy said. “Their careers are upended and they find themselves pushed out of the burgeoning Hollywood studio system, a system Paramount founder Adolph Zukor has been building by strong-arming independent producers and exhibitors ravaged by the Spanish Flu shutdown.”
If the project goes to series, it will launch on the heels of a global pandemic, the current coronavirus crisis. That would mirror the setting of Tinseltown, which takes place in the early 1920s, immediately after the Spanish Flu pandemic.
There are also other aspects that make Tinseltown timely. Some refer to the events in the book - and its adaptation - as the origin story of the #MeToo movement.
“I believe this is a story about women in Hollywood and the resiliency of women in Hollywood,” Mann said. “We wonder how we got to where we are today, well, this is the origin story of so much.”
Kapital and KatCo acquired the rights to Mann’s book in 2014 in a competitive situation. Kaplan and Murphy had been talking about doing a project together for 7-8 years but Murphy never sparked to an idea until Kaplan sent him a copy of Mann’s Tinseltown. Murphy was coming off AMC’s The Son, starring Pierce Brosnan, which also included historical elements, and immediately jumped on it.
Murphy and Mann executive produce alongside Kapital’s Kaplan and Dana Honor and KatCo’s Katsky.
Mann, repped by APA, is a well known Hollywood chronicler who has previously written Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn; How to Be A Movie Star: Elizabeth Taylor In Hollywood; Hello, Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand; and Wisecracker: The Life And Times Of William Haines.
Desperate Housewives and Caprica alum Murphy created/executive produced the series Valentine and Hellcats...