Director of 'Blue Story' says he's been 'bullied and cheated' after movie is pulled from Vue cinemas

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Rapman attending the Blue Story World Premiere, Curzon Mayfair (Credit: PA)

Rapman, the director of the movie Blue Story, has said that he's been 'bullied and cheated' by the cinema chains that have pulled his movie following alleged incidents of violence at screenings.

Police were called to a brawl with youths using machetes at a cinema in Birmingham over the weekend, causing a mass evacuation of the Star City complex.

Seven officers were injured during the incident, and five teenagers were arrested, including a 13-year-old girl. All were later released on bail.

The Vue cinema chain then said it was pulling the film, about rival gangs in south London, from 60 of its site across the UK, citing 25 other 'significant' incidents of violence related to the film at 16 other locations.

Read more: Vue defends pulling Blue Story from UK screens

The Showcase chain also pulled the film, but have since reinstated it.

However, speaking to the BBC, Rapman, real name Andrew Onwubolu, has claimed that the original incident was not related to his film at all, and that Vue has failed to produce any evidence of other incidents of violence.

“They say that there's been a number of incidents, but where's the proof? Where's the evidence? Where?” he told the BBC.

Blue Story (Credit: Paramount Pictures/BBC Films)

“We live in a camera generation now. If anything happens, the youth are going to film that and you will see it. How come we haven't seen any footage of the rest of these incidents?

“I feel like that was just something to say to cover their decision, which already wasn't justified because the incident had no connection to Blue Story.

“The two gangs that the film's based on, which are real gangs, have been in a cinema screen watching it together, laughing together, joking together, and leaving a cinema connected, happy seeing the area they grew up in.”

He went on to allege that the original incident in Birmingham was unrelated to the film too.

“They were just in a cinema apparently for Frozen [2] but then they pinned it on Blue Story,” he added.

“And then you start thinking, is there hidden reasons there? What's the owner like? Has he got an issue with young urban youth? Is he prejudiced? Does he believe that this film brings a certain type? Is there a colour thing?

“You start thinking of all these things, and it was an upsetting time.”

In a statement to the BBC addressing the allegations, Vue Cinemas said the decision was 'categorically not' race or youth related.

VUE Cinemas sign and entrance, at the Feethams Complex in Darlington (Credit: Getty)

It said in its original statement after pulling the movie: “This decision is not, as some have alleged, based on biased assumptions or concern about the content of the film itself. At Vue, we believe passionately in bringing people together and using the power of the big screen experience to entertain, educate and inspire all of our audiences. Blue Story is a fantastic film and one with a very powerful message. It is a film that has the opportunity to change lives. We hope that Blue Story achieves the success it deserves and importantly its message does not get lost.”

Rapman went on to say: “They've alienated themselves from a big audience there and without any explanation really. The explanation came with no evidence, no facts.

“I feel like they bullied me because I'm a small film. They wouldn't have pulled Frozen, they wouldn't have pulled Last Christmas. They pulled a little independent movie that needs it more than them other movies.

“I feel it's always the upward hurdles coming from our background. I always knew it was never going to be smooth. But the last thing I thought was a cinema would ban us from every single site. I just don't think they respect me. They don't respect my movie.”