More theaters drop “Cove” in Tokyo

Distrib Unplugged left with no venues in the capital in runup to June 26 Japan release

Two more theaters have canceled screenings of helmer Louie Psihoyos’ Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove,” about Japan’s slaughter of dolphins for food, leaving distributor Unplugged without a Tokyo venue.

Cinemart Roppongi in Tokyo and Cinemart Shinsaibashi in Osaka are among 26 sites that Unplugged had lined up for the pic’s June 26 release.

Owner SPO Entertainment bailed after activists gave notice they would protest at the theaters with trucks blaring out loud noise to prevent patrons from enjoying the film “in a peaceful atmosphere” as well as disturbing other local businesses and individuals.

On Thursday, “The Cove’s” main Tokyo venue, Theater N, gave similar reasons for canceling screenings. The doc has been attacked by right-wingers as being anti-Japanese.

The same group that forced the screening cancellations has also demonstrated at Unplugged’s Tokyo office and the house of its prexy Takeshi Kato. Meanwhile, harassing phone calls have plagued the distrib and theaters planning to show the pic.

In 2008 Right-wing groups also mounted a protest campaign against “Yasukuni,” a docu about a controversial Tokyo shrine for Japan’s war dead, including war criminals.

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