British-based exhibition chain Vue has pulled gang film “Blue Story” from its theaters after a brawl among dozens of moviegoers – some of them apparently wielding machetes – erupted at a cinema in central England.
The fight broke out late Saturday afternoon during a screening of the film at a multiplex in Birmingham, Britain’s second-most-populous city. The cinema was crowded with families out to catch Disney’s “Frozen 2” during its first weekend.
Reports said that chaos erupted after a gang armed with machetes arrived at the theater. Police used Taser guns to break up the fight and arrested five teenagers, four of them under 15, media reports said. Several officers were injured in the melee. More arrests are expected.
“Blue Story,” which premiered in London earlier this month and is released by Paramount in the U.K., tells the story of two London friends whose lives are marred by gang violence. The film is directed by London-based filmmaker Andrew Onwubolu, known on YouTube as rap artist Rapman.
Callers to Vue’s automated phone service heard a message saying: “We regret that we will no longer be screening the film ‘Blue Story’ at any of our venues,” the Birmingham Live website reported.
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A Vue spokesman told the BBC that “we can confirm a decision was made to remove the film. The safety and welfare of our customers and staff is always our first priority.”
A witness identified as Rachael Allison said she saw a young boy “crying on the floor with his mother” as fighting broke out. “The police told everyone to leave the cinema as they held Taser guns in their hands and started to bring in guard dogs,” Allison said.
(Pictured: Stephen Odubola, Rapman and Michael Ward at the premiere of “Blue Story”)