BLUE STORY could return to Vue Cinemas this weekend following outrage at the film’s nationwide withdrawal.
The cinema chain has revealed it hopes to screen the film and will implement additional security measures to ensure safety at showings.
The film from first-time feature director Rapman was pulled from Vue cinemas across the country after a mass fight broke out in one of the company’s locations in Birmingham on Saturday.
Police attended the scene following reports that young people were armed with machetes.
Showcase Cinemas, also pulled the film after the incident but announced earlier this week it would be reinstating it.
Tim Richards, founder and chief executive, Vue International, said: “The decision to withdraw Blue Story was not an easy one and has left all of us at Vue shocked and saddened to be in this position.”
In a statement the company said it had put in place a number of measures, including increased security, the removal of late night showings and reduced screenings of Blue Story, but the problems persisted, prompting it to cancel screenings altogether.
It said it had identified a link between Blue Story and 25 “significant incidents”, defined as illegal activity on its premises; harrassment, intimidation or any other form of threatened or actual violence towards its staff or customers; any form of public disorder which inhibits the continued safe operation of a site or any activity or event that requires security, medical, fire or police intervention.
Rapman, whose real name is Andrew Onwubolu, told the BBC he felt “bullied” and “cheated” over Vue’s decision and that the Birmingham incident had “no connection” with his film.
Speaking to the BBC, Onwubolu said he questioned whether there are “hidden reasons” behind the removal and if it is “a colour thing”.
Vue has categorically denied race played a part in the withdrawal of Blue Story from its screens.
A spokesperson for Vue said: “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.”
They 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.”
Responding to the development, Onwubolu tweeted: “Thanks to all of your cries for justice Vue have decided to reinstate Blue Story Movie back into their screens starting this weekend. Thank you to everyone who fought for this movie like it was their own. We made a lot of noise and now we’ve been heard.”