Euro Beat: French Theaters Boycott SINISTER Because of Unruly Horror Fans

Brian Clark, European Editor
More than 40 French theaters have abruptly canceled their bookings of the horror film Sinister, which opened last week in France. The decision is not a reaction to the films content, but rather, its fans. Or at least, those who theater managers presume to be its fans.

Wild Bunch, the distributor of the film, issued a statement explaining that many theaters had pulled the film because audiences at screenings of Paranormal Activity 4, which opened the week before, got a bit out of hand. According to a hilarious parenthetical in the statement, "out of hand" in this case meant "looting candy counters, insulting cashiers, urinating on seats, etc." You can, I suppose, use your imagination to decide what on earth they mean by "etc."

So yes, assuming that the same people who wanted to see Paranormal Activity 4 would also want to see Sinister, more than 40 French theaters responded to the vandalism and mischief by simply canceling all engagements of the film.

In a statement on Facebook, Wild Bunch went on to say that, "Showing genre films in France is not easy, so we ask that our future spectators please be respectful of the rules of courtesy." They also added to "not hesitate to demand that local theaters show the film next week."

Reactions to new Miike and Verhoeven from Rome

At the Rome Film Festival, a couple of very-anticipated films have already premiered: Takashi Miike's A Lesson of Evil and Paul Verhoeven's Tricked. Reactions to Miike's film seem mixed-negative, and more alarmingly, dismissive. Perhaps the most telling blurb so far is from Jessica Kiang at the Playlist who wrote, "Without wishing to use the word 'gratuitous' too gratuitously, in and around the twentieth time a version of 'Mack the Knife' plays over footage of a Japanese schoolchild being splatted against a wall by a shotgun blast, the adjective becomes pretty hard to avoid." Other critics had less to say about the violence and more about the lack of suspense and depth, which seems partly due to the fact that Miike is adapting such a huge novel.

Paul Verhoeven's Tricked, on the other hand, sounds kind of amazing. Verhoeven wrote the first four minutes of the script, then chose each ensuing four minutes from user-submissions until an hour-long film emerged. Obviously, this approach could really go either way, but early reviews actually say that the film is fast-paced and a lot of fun. Count me in.

Box Office

As for box office, well... How about we just start with a list of countries where Skyfall was number 1? It goes like this: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, UK. Now, let's move onto a list of countries where it was not number 1: Turkey. Yes, in Turkey a locally produced Fantasy/Romance called Evim Sensin beat out Skyfall, taking in $1.4, compared to Bond's $1.1. Also noteworthy, Disney's first Norwegian production, Journey to the Christmas Star, beat out Bond for theater entries this recent weekend (which I don't have final numbers for yet), though somehow made less money than Skyfall. Norwegian readers, feel free to chime in and explain to me how this is possible. Is there that much of a price gap between theaters?
Around the Internet:
  • mightyjoeyoung

    "Obviously, this approach could really go either way, but early reviews actually say that the film is fast-paced and a lot of fun."

    Fun idea, will be interesting to see wether it holds up or not.

    "As for box office, well... How about we just start with a list of countries where Skyfall was number 1?"

    Not surprised at all...people say it´s brilliant.

    "Also noteworthy, Disney's first Norwegian production, Journey to the Christmas Star, beat out Bond for theater entries this recent weekend"

    Directed by Nils Gaup appearently....curious about this one, like his other stuff.
    Thanks Mr Clark, for the wrap up.

  • Qinlong

    The Paranormal Activity4/Sinister situation is only the tip of the iceberg. I live in France and these days more and more people simply can't behave in a theater. People act out, talk sometimes out loud, open their laptop or smartphone... It's kind of disheartening actually.

  • Brian Clark

    That's really interesting. Where do you see movies? I go to early and late shows at Les Halles and strangely, never have any problems. In fact, my biggest problem with people in French theaters is that the old ones always shhhh me when I laugh during comedies.

  • Qinlong

    I mainly go to the Mk2 Bibliothèque and the UGC Montparnasse (and somatimes at the UGC Ciné Cité Halles too). Granted that doesn't happen at every film I go see, but the ratio is getting disquieting.

  • Brian Clark

    Yeah, I could imagine Montparnasse getting pretty rowdy. It's weird though, because I would normally guess that Les Halles would be TERRIBLE, but the one time that there was a bad group, the whole theater scolded them until they stopped talking.

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