Movie theaters across the country have prepared for the Friday release of Straight Outta Compton by having extra security on deck, and they are reportedly being offered a reimbursement by Universal Pictures.
The film depicts the rise of 80s California rap group NWA, who made anti-authority songs like “F— the Police.” The downtown Los Angeles premier of the movie had extra security Monday, and guests were directed through metal detectors before buying their tickets.
Universal told Variety that they had made a deal with theaters that asked for more security, although they did not explain the reason behind their agreement.
“Universal is proud of our association with Straight Outta Compton, which portrays the rise of five talented young men from underprivileged and oppressed backgrounds into one of the most influential music groups in modern history,” a Universal representative said.
“The film has been seen by thousands of people at hundreds of screenings, all of which have happened without incident,” the spokesperson added. “The studio has not solicited enhanced security for theaters who will begin showing it this weekend, but has partnered with those exhibitors who have requested support for their locations.”
Some are speculating that hostility toward police in reality and in Straight Outta Compton may incite violence at some theaters, which may explain the desire for additional protection.
“[In this movie] police don’t come out in a good light and there is a feeling in the country that is anti-police and anti-establishment, and crowds are affected by movies,” Tom DeLuca, president of National Cinema Security, told Reuters.
Ice Cube, a founding member of NWA and a producer of the film, told Reuters that he supports the decision to increase security at screenings.
“I am glad that Universal stepped up and it’s all about making people feel safe,” Ice Cube said.
The film’s release is following last month’s shooting at a Trainwreck showing in Louisiana in which a man killed two women, the sentencing of James Holmes who shot and killed 12 at a movie theater in Colorado in 2012, and the ongoing protests sparked from police killing unarmed Black citizens.