U.K. Cinema Chain Reverses Decision to Pull Gangland Film 'Blue Story'

Rapman - 2019 Roc Nation THE BRUNCH on February 9, 2019 - Getty-H 2019
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The head of Vue has said the cinema chain is "beefing up security" and hopes to return the Paramount-backed film to theaters this weekend.

The boss of U.K. cinema chain Vue has revealed he is looking to reverse his decision to withdraw the gang film Blue Story from its theaters. 

On Sunday, the company announced that it was pulling the Paramount-backed film following a brawl involving a machete in the lobby of a cinema in Birmingham. It later doubled down on its decision following a major backlash, stating Monday that it was made after more than "25 significant incidents" had been reported in 16 of its cinemas in just 24 hours.

But CEO Tim Richards has now said he is hoping to return Blue Story to screens. 

"Right now we are looking at trying to get that movie back onto our screens by the weekend and possibly, if we can, to accelerate that," he told the BBC.

"Our plans right now are to look at the timings and look at who's buying the tickets, and we're going to be beefing up security where we've had problems."

In a statement, Vue added: "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."

The decision comes after days of heated debates over Vue's removal of the film, about two friends who become embroiled in London's gang wars. Paramount and BBC Films, which helped develop the film, have both stood by Blue Story.

Earlier Wednesday, director Rapman — real name Andrew Onwubolu — suggested that there were "hidden reasons" for the ban, claiming that there was "no connection" between his film and the initial brawl. 

"Vue say that there's been a number of incidents, but where's the proof, the evidence," he said to BBC Breakfast. "The one incident that they’re taking about was on camera. We live in a camera generation. Anything happens, the youth are going to film that. How come we haven’t seen any footage of the rest of these incidents?”

Rapman added: "And then you start thinking, is there hidden reasons there? What's the owner like? Has he got an issue with young urban youth? Is he prejudiced?"

Richards later said that Vue wanted "more movies like this on our screens, not less."