A second cinema chain has pulled the gang-themed film Blue Story after seven police officers were injured during massive fight at the Star City multiplex in Birmingham.
Vue has now banned the film from its 91 UK and Ireland venues and Showcase has also dropped the movie.
The move has seen a backlash on social media with some labelling the ban as “racist”.
In a statement, Vue said the film opened in 60 of its sites across the UK and Ireland on Friday but was forced into cancelling the scrreningd.
“But during the first 24 hours of the film over 25 significant incidents were reported and escalated to senior management in 16 separate cinemas. This is the biggest number we have ever seen for any film in a such a short time frame.”
Blue Story is the tale of two friends who become rivals
Meanwhile Odeon says it is not withdrawing the film, but “a number of security measures are in place” for Blue Story screenings, though it refused to elaborate on what they are.
The film’s writer and director, Andrew Onwubolu, said the disturbance was “truly unfortunate” and he hoped it was not an “indictment” of the movie.
In an Instagram post on Sunday, the rapper-turned-filmmaker wrote:
“Sending love to all those involved in yesterday’s violence at Star City in Birmingham. It’s truly unfortunate that a small group of people can ruin things for everybody.
Blue Story is a film about love not violence. I hope that the blame is placed with the individuals and not an indictment of the film itself.
I pray that we can all learn to live with love and treat each other with tolerance and respect.”
The Vue chain has stressed the decision to pull the film was prompted only because of the risk of further violent incidents.
“This decision is not, as some have alleged, based on biased assumptions or concern about the content of the film itself,” it said.
On Saturday, West Midlands Police officers drew Tasers and used a dispersal order to clear the venue.
Footage from inside the multiplex appeared to show fights and people on the floor screaming.
Announcing it was following Vue in cancelling all screenings, Showcase said:
“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 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 reintroducing the film in due course.
We apologise for any inconvenience but guest safety remains our top priority.”
Some on social media have argued that this is an over reaction to the film when the riot itself was more to do with long standing issues between the Muslim and Sikh communities in Birmigham. They have also noted that this marks the further decline of the United Kingdom that continues to march inexorably on.