British-based exhibition chain Vue has pulled gang film “Blue Story” from its theaters after a brawl among dozens of moviegoers – some of them apparently wielding machetes – erupted in entertainment complex Star City near Nechells, Birmingham, which was evacuated after that.
The fight broke out late Saturday afternoon during a screening of the film at a multiplex in Britain’s second-most-populous city. The cinema was crowded with families out to catch Disney’s “Frozen 2” during its first weekend.
Reports said that chaos erupted after a gang armed with machetes arrived at the theater. Officers arrived to find a group of more than 100 people, and pockets of fighting broke out as police moved to clear the area. A number of police officers have been assaulted, and several arrests have been made including five teenagers, four of them under 15. Several officers were injured in the melee.
“Blue Story,” which premiered in London earlier this month and is released by Paramount in the U.K., tells the story of two London friends whose lives are marred by gang violence. The film is directed by London-based filmmaker Andrew Onwubolu, known on YouTube as rap artist Rapman.
A Vue spokesman told the BBC that “we can confirm a decision was made to remove the film. The safety and welfare of our customers and staff is always our first priority.”
UK theater chain Showcase is reinstating movie Blue Story with “increased security protocols.” Here’s their comment just in:
“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.”
It’s not immediately clear whether the chain will be reducing the movie’s screen count but this is positive news for the filmmakers, distributor Paramount and audiences keen to see the much-discussed movie. The reinstatement follows a sharp social media backlash against Vue and Showcase for pulling the movie across their circuits.
The well-received crime drama about gangs, and the disturbances at cinemas showing the film, have been a hot-button topic in the UK these past few days, garnering national headlines and prime-time coverage on radio and TV bulletins.