Theaters afraid to play assassination movie

posted by Michael Zoldessy on October 10, 2006 at 5:00 am

With the new independent feature, “Death of a President”, about to be released, some major chains are starting to claim they won’t play the film. The controversial film that depicts a fictional assassination of President Bush was a hit at the Toronto Film Festival but not a favorite of Regal and Cinemark.

Yes. Absolutely. I believe the theater groups have the right to choose which films they will and will not show.

I find it a tad ironic that Regal and Cinemark are kicking up such a storm about this film, because films of this sort of caliber, of this, rather of this budget — and it’s made for British television — don’t normally show in multiplexes anyway.

Fox News has the full interview with the writer from Time Out Chicago on their site.

Since we discussed people’s thoughts on a theater holding back films based on supposed quality last week, how about people sound off on their thoughts regarding a chain holding back a film based on content.

Comments (12)

dfc on October 10, 2006 at 5:59 am

Theaters are private businesses. They have the right to show or not show any particular film based on whatever criteria they choose.

ArchStanton007 on October 10, 2006 at 6:17 am

I wish they would think twice about running these ultr-sadistc films like “Saw” and “Hostel” to name a few. The appeal of this extreme violence to many young movie goers has me quite disturbed. In fact, I would have hoped by now that some psychology related organization would have issued warnings about the glorification of extreme violence in entertainment.

Yes, the theater chains can pick and choose whatever content they want.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on October 10, 2006 at 7:22 am

Regal’s loss is Landmark’s gain. Also, the distributor should consider assembling an ad-hoc network of independent (and normally second-run) cinemas to exhibit this film.

Mikeoaklandpark on October 10, 2006 at 7:51 am

When Regal shows films like Saw Hostel and some of the other crap out there, they should not hesiate to show this film. Obviouly they are being paid off by the idiots in the GOP party for Bush.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on October 10, 2006 at 9:12 am

This movie is actually quite kind to Bush. I am sure anyone who is offended has not yet seen it.

Forget Bush for a moment. If an American president were assasinated under the current climate, how would the US react? Would we overact with incorrect assumptions. That is what this film is about.

Regal and Cinemark’s stupid “shoot from the hip” responses are perfect examples of what this film unveils.

Congratulations to those two exhibitors for making the filmmaker’s hypothesis a fact so soon.

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on October 10, 2006 at 9:27 am

Al there is my point made for me ………..(from our post on theater closes)

schmadrian on October 10, 2006 at 12:14 pm

I’m curious as to where the line was crossed with this film.
Or is it the current political climate? Anticipation of boycotting or protests?

Do you think that if ‘V for Vendetta’ had been set in the US, there would have been a problem with its distribution?

And is it relevant that historically-based assassination films like ‘Bobby’ can get distribution and this speculative one has an uphill battle?

Finally, is the fact this film was made outside the US fueling the negative-response fire to any extent?

PeterApruzzese on October 10, 2006 at 12:42 pm

Perhaps they don’t think it will do any business for them, being a micro-budgeted indie flick that, most likely, does not fit the demographics of their locations.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on October 10, 2006 at 1:07 pm

I doubt that any national chain can make such a claim, given the diverse locations it has. The film might do just fine at, say, Regal Fenway 13 in Boston, even while failing to find an audience in rural Nebraska.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on October 10, 2006 at 1:48 pm

The film has a “JFK” feel to it. It is false history footage treated as real and takes place in late 2007. I think the reason it was financed by UK TV is because the US is undergoing a really oppressive period for financing anything too controversial.
(I can’t wait for BORAT to hit the fan!)

I think those who say it is a small and minor film are correct, but then both Regal and Carmike have some theatres that do play such product.

I think Bush is a sacred cow for some and that is the reason this film upsets many who, if they saw it, would totally agree with the sentiments expressed anyway.

woody on October 10, 2006 at 11:21 pm

with spoilers
The film aired on UK TV on monday night, i watched it, its very well made and the fictional scenes blend seemlessly with the actual news footage used, the acting(by a cast of unknowns) is superb.
The film is actually very kind to Bush and portrays him as a nice guy, the premise of the film is the way the media and governments react in this situation and how people jump to the wrong conclusions, a muslim bystander is convicted on flimsy evidence and terrorism is blamed rather than the truth which is deemed too unlikely and hushed up (great twist at the end)
As far as cinemas chosing their programmes – its their business decision, in this case it seems that the decision is made on fear of upsetting the public or seeming un-patriotic based on media coverage of the film by people who havnt seen it, which is exactly what the film is all about in an ironic way.

TLSLOEWS on December 28, 2009 at 4:18 pm

Maybe that the would not want to play “JFK” at the Texas Theatre in Dallas,Texas.Know what I mean?

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