August 18, 2015
According to one former NYC cop, “gang intelligence units are receiving solid actionable intelligence that Bloods gang members will target theaters in certain areas because of pro-Crip content in the film.”
An African-American pastor and “civil rights leader” predicted that “the movie will attract a lot of angry young blacks looking for trouble.”
But Straight Outta Compton just logged an impressive $56 million weekend box office take, and as of this writing, I can”t find reports of even a single violent incident, not even at WorldStarHipHop. More people have been shot up at Trainwreck.
It’s all very Y2K, but Universal’s instincts weren”t entirely off. As far back as The Birth of a Nation, blacks have been acting crazy in movie theaters. Chris Rock’s latter-day disavowal of his “Blacks vs. Niggers” routine aside, they joke about it themselves“watch “Brenda at the movies””and study the phenomenon in academia.
Sure, white people slashed a few seats during Rock Around the Clock, and there are (possibly apocryphal) anecdotes of rubes firing back at the gunman in The Great Train Robbery. But the near-liturgical behavior at The Rocky Horror Picture Show is the exact opposite of what goes on every night in America’s “ghetto” movie theaters.
(And even Canada’s “normal” ones: My otherwise sublime experience of taking in Ed Wood for the first time was ruined by the black kid behind me screaming, “What the FUCK is this SHIT?!” when Johnny Depp put on the angora sweater.)
I suspect Universal’s shockingly un-PC “private security” ploy was actually an ultra-ballsy bit of old-fashioned ballyhoo, the likes of which we haven”t seen since William Castle’s 1950s gimmicks: “nurses” and ambulances standing by at every theater to treat cases of “fright” and such.
Given the proven results, can we get all the studios to make a similar pledge for every movie from now on? They”ve been trying to get (white) people back in theaters for years. The guarantee of a peaceful two hours in the dark might just do it.