HOOPESTON, Ill. -- A small-town theater owner says he wasn't trying to send Hollywood a message when he shut down for two weeks rather than show box-office leader "Jackass 2" or other new releases that he calls "drivel."
But even if not purposeful, Greg Boardman's blank-screened protest is getting a thumbs up from moviegoers who long for family fare and jeers from others who say his theaters are one of the few diversions — especially for children — in this farming town of about 6,000 people.
"They're not appropriate for really anybody, but I sure wouldn't let my kids go into one of them ... Those are his convictions and he needs to stand by them," Steve Lloyd, 59, of nearby Rossville said of offerings such as "Beerfest" and the "Jackass" sequel that briefly landed a "Closed" sign on the marquee outside Boardman's Lorraine Theatre.
"Jackass" features Johnny Knoxville and his gang performing crazy stunts often involving self-inflicted pain; "Beerfest" revolves around fictional siblings who participate in an Olympics-style drinking competition.
The 84-year-old, 500-seat Lorraine in downtown Hoopeston reopened Friday, showing Disney's football biopic "Invincible," while an 85-seat sister theater down the street relit its screen with Sony's animated kids movie "Open Season."
Hoopeston native P.J. Clingenpeel said the projectors should never have been turned off in the first place. He said the two-week shutdown only hurt children in this town where Boardman's movie houses and a skating rink are about all they have to do outside of school and sports.
"All he did was ruin a lot of kids' weekends. That's why I think he's a crybaby," said Clingenpeel, a 30-year-old welder.
Boardman says he's sorry that darkened screens cut into the town's limited entertainment options. But he says he'll shut down again if faced with a similar batch of films, adding that contractual issues with the studios — such as guarantees on first-week receipts — sometimes limit his options.
"The movies are so bad and I don't need the money ...
Most were understanding when she explained the shutdown was temporary, said Green, who was paid during the two weeks the theaters were closed. She also said she backs Boardman's decision, based on the movies he had to chose from
Could you consider him shutting down his thearter as censorship? What about the fact that he was sheltering the town from something he felt was a personal standard, should that be allowed?