The Real Reason Pete Davidson's The King Of Staten Island Was Pulled From Theaters
Audiences expecting to see the big-screen collaboration between comedy king Judd Apatow and Saturday Night Live's Pete Davidson got a rude awakening after Universal pulled the film just two days before it was set to release.
With most theaters still closed nationwide and few new releases available in the country's handful of open indoor and drive-in establishments, audiences are starved for new movie material. So it's no surprise that those who purchased tickets for Thursday night and weekend screenings of Davidson's semi-autobiographical dramedy were angry when they discovered their tickets had been refunded.
News of the cancellations first came on the Thursday before the movie's opening weekend, when establishments like the Warwick Drive-In in New York and the Rustic Tri View Drive-In in Rhode Island began posting their refund policies and announcing the nixed screenings.
In response to faulty information circulating online prior to the movie's release, Apatow took to Twitter to try to clarify the situation. In an all-caps announcement, the Freaks and Geeks and Pineapple Express producer tweeted,
"THE KING OF STATEN ISLAND IS ONLY OPENING ON VOD FRIDAY. IT IS NOT OPENING IN THEATERS."
Variety reports that the screening cancellations weren't the fault of theater owners, who were also in the dark about the move. One anonymous independent theater owner even told the outlet that there was not immediately any explanation provided about the abrupt reversal, and that the studio merely, quote, "changed their mind." Insiders at the studio confirmed this to Variety, revealing that the last-minute decision to pull The King of Staten Island from theaters was the result of a major mix-up linked to Universal's controversial video-on-demand release strategy.
Speaking on the basis of anonymity, Universal studio insiders confirmed to Variety that the company's original release intentions were focused exclusively on a VOD release. It was an internal misunderstanding among executives that led to the film wrongly being sold to around 100 theaters nationwide before studio leadership had to reach out to theater owners and request they not screen the film.
The move angered some, with one Twitter user sarcastically tweeting, "Real class act, Universal," in response to Apatow's tweets.
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