UPDATE (Nov. 27): Both Showcase and Vue have lifted their bans on Blue Story, adding that they would show the film but with extra security.
Vue said in a statement:
"We were disappointed to have to make the decision to remove Blue Story from our screens earlier this week, a decision to protect our customers and staff following major incidents connected with the film at 16 of our cinemas all across the country. We said at the time that this is a fantastic film and one with a very powerful message - that is why we wanted to show this film. We want to do that while ensuring, above all else, the safety of our customers and colleagues. We also understand the powerful reaction to our decision and we have spoken with interested parties, including the film producers, Paramount, our security advisers and most importantly our own operational teams who manage our cinemas on a day-to-day basis. Following an ongoing review of security to protect the safety of our staff and customers, we hope to be showing the film from this weekend, with additional security arrangements in our cinemas, to ensure everyone can enjoy the film in comfort and safety."
In an interview with VICE, a spokesperson for Showcase also said that they would be lifting their ban:
"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 reinstate screenings of the film supported with increased security protocols and will be doing so from this evening. The safety of our guests and colleagues is our number one priority. We have a number of security measures in place for this film, and are currently reviewing these along with our programming, in order to continue to put the safety of our guests first."
Original story below.
This week, Rapman's cinematic debut, Blue Story, opened to £1.3 million, placing it at No. 3 at the UK box office, Variety reports.
But what was supposed to be a triumphant moment for Rapman and independent cinema has now been tarnished after right-wing press blamed the film for a mass brawl at a Birmingham cinema.
The fight, which took place on Saturday night (Nov. 23) during a showing of Frozen II at Star City cinema in Birmingham, involved over a 100 people and police have since recovered two machetes and a knife from the area. Since the fight, cinema chains Vue and Showcase have pulled the film and are refusing to show it.
West Midlands Police have made it clear they have no reason to believe the incident was connected to the film, its content or its subject matter. Chief Supt Steve Graham has said that no one from the police asked either chain to cancel screenings. A police spokesperson also said it wasn't clear whether any of the violence took place inside any of the actual screens.
But the right-wing press has pushed a connection extensively online, also going to great lengths to remind us the film had BBC involvement.
The Twitter backlash to this agenda has been swift, with many accusing Vue cinemas of racism and racial profiling.
So... there was a machete brawl in Birmingham at a showing of Frozen 2. Despite the brawl involving Asian young people, photos illustrating accompanying news stories have been of black people.— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) November 25, 2019
And so because of ‘concerns about violence’, Vue have blocked Blue Story being shown.
@mrjamesob your gut feeling is correct. This is 1% to do with #BlueStory and 99% to do with the venue. It is frequented by a number of Birmingham based gangs and has a long standing reputation for such. It’s not uncommon for people to refer to it as Stab City.— Chris Traves (@cjtravesty) November 25, 2019
Vue Cinema❌— Austin (@AustinDarbo) November 24, 2019
Sorry, but that is a decision marinated in racist overtones.
The reality is: @vuecinemas need to reassess what messages they’re sending when they ban a film from being shown in it’s country of origin over an isolated incident, while continuing to glorify movies which exemplify a multitude of types of violence and unsavoury acts.— Scully. (@isthatscully) November 24, 2019
Frozen 2 should be banned not Blues Story Movie pic.twitter.com/K9nivyGqAo— EmeryLane (@EmeryLane8) November 24, 2019
Be sure to catch the movie at other supporting cinemas.