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Some Movie Theater Chains Are Refusing To Book Steve McQueen's "Shame"

by Tambay A. Obenson
December 1, 2011 5:59 PM
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I'm not at all surprised; it's an NC17-rated movie, so of course there'll always be those puritans who think it vile and ignoble.

From the Los Angeles Times

While some marketing constraints have relaxed in the intervening years, and audiences (thanks to cable TV and the Internet) have been desensitized to sex and nudity, Fox Searchlight said some theater chains have so far declined to book Shame because of its adults-only rating. The studio refused to identify the chains, but Cinemark, the nation's No. 3 chain, later issued this statement in response to a query from The Times: "Cinemark exhibits a wide variety of films for diverse audiences and will continue to do so. However, Cinemark as a company, has a long standing policy against showing NC-17 rated movies. Since "Shame" is rated NC-17, Cinemark has made the decision not to play the movie in our theatres."

In addition Carmike, the nation's No. 4 chain, has so far not booked "Shame." The chain declined to comment.

And also, as the piece states, when the film is released on DVD/Blu-ray next year, Fox Searchlight will eventually have the mountainous hurdle that is Wal-Mart to deal with, because the country's top retail outlet will not sell adults-only DVDs/Blu-rays, which could have a noticeable effect on sales. 

However, the folks at Fox Searchlight aren't concerned (at least, if they are, they aren't saying so).

"Every major city in America will play 'Shame... I have no concerns. We've had no limitations getting the film where we wanted it," Steve Gilula, president of company, told the LA Times.

And of course, "where we wanted it" means major markets like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, D.C - so-called *big cities.* You likely ain't gonna find Shame in those Bible Belt areas.

Shame opens this Friday, December 2; I actually think it'll open strong in the 5 cities it's scheduled to debut in tomorrow. The buzz around the film has been overwhelming; it's been mostly very well reviewed, with 48 out of 59 reviews giving it a Fresh rating currently on Rotten Tomatoes.

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  • Tamara | December 2, 2011 9:13 AMReply

    Screw Wal-Mart. all the way! People who love film will FIND FILM they love. Wal-Mart might be a megalomania of 'everything' but a haven of cinema it ain't. And you're right about Bible Belt states missing out. There's been many a film I've wanted to see, onscreen but couldn't because they came nowhere near me. Nevertheless, Netflix, Amazon, etc. I will find the good stuff I'm looking for. I just hope I can see it 'before' awards season is over.

  • Jai | December 2, 2011 6:52 AMReply

    @MiddleMyatt, I agree it makes me want to see it more as well.

  • Miles Ellison | December 2, 2011 12:34 AMReply

    This is exactly what the ratings board wanted to accomplish with the NC-17 rating. It virtually guarantees that the audience for the film will be limited. This rating isn't necessarily about content. It's about power and control. I don't know if Shame is worth seeing or not, but the NC-17 rating is used as a weapon to keep certain types of content out of the mainstream and stigmatize it.

  • Austin | December 2, 2011 12:08 AMReply

    Wow I really need to see this movie

  • LOVESFILMNMUSIC | December 1, 2011 6:48 PMReply

    Come on, who hasn't seen a penis before? Half of us have them and the other half either like them or their replicas.

  • CareyCarey | December 1, 2011 11:41 PM

    Ooooh, is that right? Well hell, I guess we can automatically assume that everyone has three-way sex, sex with someone of the same sex, jacks off on the job and we all are sexual perverts? Ooooh, I see what kind of party this is. DAMN those movie chains that will not let it all hang out. How could they be so stupid? Hell, I have an ass-hole and er-body got one, so I'm just gonna spread mine on the dash board of the next car I get in. fk-em if they cannot take a joke!

  • Darla & Mark | December 1, 2011 8:55 PM

    Brown ones I have, no pink.

  • MiddleMyatt | December 1, 2011 7:14 PM

    Good point. I believe it was Baldwin who once commented on America's need to grow up, in the sexual sense.

  • JMac | December 1, 2011 7:13 PM

    Speak for yourself, lol.
    The movie could do well in Atlanta, Houston, most places in FL and some theaters in VA. They should forget Walmart entirely.

  • MiddleMyatt | December 1, 2011 6:08 PMReply

    Really?! Didn't know it was that serious. Makes me want to see it even more now.

  • James | December 2, 2011 3:20 PM

    But seriously, why is it that walmart will sell Saw movies and not ones with nc-17. I mean, I've had a fair share of nc-17 and xxx experiences in my life. I have not, however, put someones head in a reverse beartrap, because that would be a horrible thing to do. Sex perfectly normal and not something to hide from everyone. If this was France, this movie would probably be rated 15. Torturing and killing people is not a normal or good thing to do to people. It should be these films that get banned from theaters and walmarts.

  • Quentin | December 2, 2011 1:49 AM


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