Cinemark will break its long-standing corporate taboo against screening NC-17 rated films at one location when their Century 12, Evanston, Illinois location will show the Palme d’Or-winning Blue Is the Warmest Color.
The news comes just a week after New York City’s IFC Center announced that it would not be enforcing the highly restrictive rating and would allow “high school patrons” admittance to see the film. The film caused a bit of a stir at Cannes this year over its frank story of a lesbian relationship, including several scenes of reportedly intense and graphic scenes of lesbian lovemaking.
The presentation of the film, which the theater chain’s corporate office is calling a “one-theater test,” comes at the behest of Century 12 manager, Wally Bobkiewicz, who explained that “This is in part in response to our concerns from residents that [we] weren’t showing enough art movies.”
A corporate spokesperson elaborated in a statement to the Evanston Patch (via the Hollywood Reporter) “It just happens to be the right movie at the right time.”
It is certainly too early to tell if this will ultimately be extended to more of Cinemark’s 300 other locations, but I am certainly hoping that it will. As of now, no major theater chain will screen an NC-17 film, relegating them to art house theaters that primarily reside in the bigger cities. As one of the largest chains in the country, if Cinemark were to do away with their ban, I have no doubt that the other chains would soon follow suit. While there are some who ignorantly feel that a rating that is restrictive due to adult themes and content automatically equates to pornography, having actual access to these films for moviegoers outside of big cities will go along way to helping dispell that myth. And with wider distribution, NC-17 films will become more economically viable which will encourage studios to allow filmmakers wider latitude