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Does Kerasotes Theatres have a problem with ‘Straight Outta Compton’?

The Chicago-based company seems to have cancelled the midnight screening of the movie at the Showplace Icon Theaters in St. Louis Park, though nobody’s saying why. 

Left to right: Aldis Hodge, Neil Brown Jr., Jason Mitchell, O'Shea Jackson Jr. and Corey Hawkins in a scene from "Straight Outta Compton."
Universal Pictures

A sharp­-eyed movie fan wrote to point out that the tony Showplace Icon Theaters in St. Louis Park, owned by the Chicago­-based Kerasotes corporation, appears to have curtailed both the customary Thursday midnight screening and all post-­10 pm screenings of the new film “Straight Outta Compton,” which may or may not have something to do with the fact that the movie tells the story of rappers Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and their seminal hip-hop group, NWA.

The generally well­-reviewed film, a “biopic” in Hollywood jargon, recounts the group’s rise amid the violence in their L.A. neighborhood during the 1980s and features the usual (and sometimes vile) posturing of the era. But really folks, this is geezer rap. I remember when my suburban kids went through their NWA/gangsta rap phase … 20 years ago. It hardly seems the sort of thing that would incite violent elements in the 21st Century. 

Showplace’s West End manager Jared Klingelhoets said, “It’s hard to say” why the theater’s schedules have changed. “I can’t answer the question [of whether it has anything to do with the opening of ‘Straight Outta Compton’].”

He did say Universal, the film’s distributor, had offered to pay for extra security if anyone asked, but his theater at least did not. “I’m not really supposed to talk to the media,” he said, “unless I get permission from Chicago.”

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Fair enough. But it’s interesting that three calls left for Kerasotes’ main boss, Tim Johnson, describing exactly the cynical scenario laid out by the person who wrote me … went unanswered. (The one live person I connected with said Johnson was expected to be in the office.) 

I get it. Everyone is busy. But even managers in the hospitality/entertainment industry can generally find 60 seconds to call back and make a categorical denial.