by Julian Spivey
Recently I was on Twitter and came across a Variety headline about movie theaters hiring extra security for the release of “Straight Outta Compton,” the biopic of influential late ‘80s hip hop group N.W.A, which opens this weekend.
Movie theaters wanting to hire extra security is certainly a good thing, we’ve seen two movie theater shootings in the last month out of Louisiana, where two women were killed, and Tennessee, where thankfully nobody was killed. This is also just three years after psychopath James Holmes killed 12 people and injured another 70 in a mass shooting at a theater in Aurora, Colo.
It’s hard to argue against extra movie theater security. And, it’s something I’m 100 percent for … except for this instance.
Many movie theaters across the country are hiring extra security for this weekend’s release of “Straight Outta Compton,” and this fact and that Universal Pictures is actually reimbursing theaters for doing so, is blatant racism.
It’s not that movie theaters are scared there’s going to be violence based on the recent movie theater shootings in Louisiana and Tennessee or the terrible tragedy three years ago in Colorado.
If that were the case you would see movie theaters bulking up security during massively popular summer blockbusters like “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Jurassic World,” “Ant-Man” or even last week’s opening of “Fantastic Four” – all of which likely will have drawn bigger first weekend crowds than “Straight Outta Compton.”
These movie theaters are hiring extra security because they simply do not trust large groups of African-Americans viewers, which is the population that will predominantly rush out to see a biopic about N.W.A. on opening weekend. That’s an obvious case of blatant racism. And, I don’t think there’s any other excuse you could make for it.
This is just another example in this country on how the establishment treats African-Americans as lesser human beings than Caucasians. Movie theater owners and staff all around this country trust white filmgoers to buy movie tickets in droves without the threat of violence, despite the fact that all three theater shootings in the last three years have been done by white men. But, let a film come along that’s attractive to a largely African-American audience and that trust is out the window. It’s really an eye opening moment, especially for those who might have previously been blind to the racism still prevalent in this country in one way or another.
Despite Universal’s decision to reimburse movie theaters for hiring extra security the company has also released the statement that “Straight Outta Compton” has been seen by thousands of people already at hundreds of screenings around the country without a single incident reported.
“Straight Outta Compton” is anticipated to have a huge opening weekend at the box office and is projected to be the weekend’s most watched film. According to Deadline.com, 70 percent of advanced tickets sales on Fandango for the weekend have been for “Straight Outta Compton,” which is opening in almost 3,000 theaters across the country.