Director of El Chapo Documentary Says Chicago Screening Canceled Amid Fears of Gang Violence

Lead Photo: Photo: EPA/Mario Guzman
Photo: EPA/Mario Guzman
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Do we have another The Interview controversy on our hands in Chicago? It was announced Thursday that a local theater has bowed out of screening Es El Chapo?, a film about the arrest of the former head of the Sinaloa Drug cartel. In his film, director Charlie Minn wonders whether the erstwhile Public Enemy No. 1 is in fact in custody, but that’s a question that will remain unanswered for moviegoers in the Second City. At least, for now.

According to local news reports, the Regal Entertainment City North 14 theater canceled the premiere of the movie, which was to open this month in Chicago. Minn said he received two emails about the decision, and he speculated that the theater management was worried that neighborhood gangs might cause some kind of incident because of the subject of the film. The director complained about the setback, but vowed to find another theater for his film.

The Chicago Police Department, however, stated that they have received no calls regarding the matter, and Regal Entertainment Group issued the following statement to Fox 32 News Chicago:

“The release of information concerning gang activity or undercover police operations at our City North location is inaccurate and unauthorized. As a matter of standard security procedures, we do not discuss our internal security measures but we are confident and have been assured that there exists no gang related activity at our City North Location. The safety and security of our guests and staff is and always will be our first priority and we are confident that no safety concerns exist at this location.”

This statement doesn’t explain the cancellation, but we can only hope that Minn isn’t merely conjuring the specter of gang activity to drum up interest in his movie, especially since there’s enough of it in reality. Es El Chapo? hasn’t racked up many reviews, but Minn’s done extensive documentary work in films such as The New Juarez and The Long Island Railroad Massacre: 20 Years Later, so he shouldn’t resort to such tactics.