Theater owner shuts down for jackass 2


Well-Known Member
Jul 14, 2006
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?
I don't think he was sheltering anyone. I think he was making a business decision about what he would and would not carry in his theater. Perfectly within his right, especially since he paid his employees for the weeks he was closed.
This is an excellent jumping point for discussing business rights in relation to contract and social ramifications. To me, it is particularly significant not so much that his theater was one of the only sources of entertainment, but rather that it was the only theater in town. This gives him a (as far as can be said of a farming town of 6000) monopoly over film screening, which I believe carries a fair bit of import. Despite my partially sympathising with his position, as he found himself in quite the bind, it is his very situation which makes his actions constitute a form of censorship regardless of his aims or intentions. As to whether this is 'unconsitutional' or outside his rights I cannot be sure.
I live in a small town as well, but within just a few miles of this town are several other towns that have theaters. If I need a movie fix that bad, and my theater has closed, then I can drive to another town.

It's not like movies are a need. It's entertainment. It is impossible to have a monopoly on entertainment.
Dong-- I think you have a good point. I'm not in favor of censorship, but neither am I in favor of telling a private company what it can and can't do. But a company like this one that has a monopoly DOES have a responsibility-- and his actions are a sort of censorship. I think you hit the nail head on.
It's not like movies are a need. It's entertainment. It is impossible to have a monopoly on entertainment.

Record labels! They don't have a monopoly on music per-se but music artists are bound by a contract which limits their abilities to a certain extent.

But a company like this one that has a monopoly DOES have a responsibility-- and his actions are a sort of censorship.

What mile radius are you drawing this conclusion? There are countless movie theater chains and plenty of independents around. Just because the theater is the only one in town does not make it a monopoly. You can still drive to another theater to see the movie.
Personally (while i may be concerned if it was a political movie) I don't think the theater owner should be required to show a particular movie. While it may inconvenience the town their are certainly other options such as going to other theaters or renting/ordering on netflix when it comes out on tape.
Well, I would agree Todd...if there were the other options. I agree on the general level that it's impossible to have a monopoly on all entertainment (this is trivially true) but I was referring to locally. As this is a discussion point, I shall say I did presume that it was significant that his was the only theater around town, as this implies that it would also be the only theater conveniently available, and what's more, was a common source of entertainment. We must understand their context more to make judgments regarding such, as I believe some of these comments fail to do so.

On a personal note though, if these were the only films that Boardman was allowed to, or could screen, then I am not entirely unsympathetic to his decision, as I implied earlier.
At one point, one of the theaters in my area was refusing to screen anything distributed by Miramax. It was really annoying, but we got through it. I guess to me it's just not that big a deal.
It's fine to call presumptions into question, but as I've said twice now before, I was under the impression that it was safe to presume that it is a big deal for the residents of this particular town, and that is precisely why this is a topic of interest.

I too would be interested to see some kind of socio-cultural vignette of the town, and to see if there wasn't any more opportunity for other avenues of constructive entertainment. I get the impression that films like Jackass and Beerfest would not actually relate appropriately/particularly well with the residents of such a town as the cultural presumptions made by both films do not match the cultural circumstances of the town.
It is censorhsip but, not in the way I think you are asking. All of us censor things everyday, when I decide that I won't buy sodapop or allow my kids to watch certain porgrams, I am censoring. This man is running his business his way. His censorship of these movies is his right as a business owner. We can't be forced to watch the movie, why should he be forced to show it?
Personally I think theater owners should start refusing to show certain pictures simply because they're garbage. Showing these films only encourages more garbage. I don't think I'm being a film snob, most of you can agree that there is plenty of hack-written, dull, sight-gag-ridden crap coming out of hollywood. I think similarly about radio DJs who are able to say pretty much any kind of foul mouthed junk they want about breasts and defacation, but they aren't allowed to say "man, I think this song we just played really sucks up the wazoo."
I agree to an extent. I think the ones who should demand more are the public in general. Hollywood is realizing that just because the movie has Tom Cruise in it doesnt make it a box office hit anymore. They have started to actually concentrate on story and plots now. Its going to take a few year to see this effect in place but over the last few years the box office numbers have been horrible and they need to start making better movies or its not going to be pretty.
It seems that economics drives the bus regardless of just how much sucking up the wazoo some people declare particular things to be. The main risk of any form of censorship seems to be in the moral presumptions made- that it can turn into a form of tyranny on the minorities, or alternative perspectives. I appreciate that this is distinct from the craptacular that is the a huge portion of the pop culture scene, but it's difficult to tell sometimes whether shock-jockeying is economically or socially driven. Not to say that everything is drivel, but let's see what happens these next few years.
Palefrost, I don't think Hollywood is "starting" to focus more on plot and script-driven movies. For as long as the American movie industry has existed, there has been crap and there has been gold. There are always Oscar contenders and "imdb bottom 100" movies. The question is whether a particular year is gold-covered crap, or crap-covered gold.