Comedian Pete Davidson’s new movie The King of Staten Island has been abruptly pulled from drive-in theatres across the U.S.
The semi-autobiographical film, directed by Judd Apatow, was only supposed to premiere to video-on-demand services on Friday after previous plans for a theatre release were shelved as a result of the coronavirus shutdown.
However, owners of a number of drive-in venues, who have been welcoming film fans in their cars to view mostly older movies, began selling tickets for The King of Staten Island after receiving the go ahead to do so from officials at Universal Studios.
The screenings were then quickly pulled, much to the theatre owners’ annoyance.
“There was no explanation (from Universal). They changed their mind,” grumbled one venue owner to Variety.com, while another complained, “This caused a considerable amount of ill will with customers who bought tickets online showing up for the Thursday 7pm show.”
Apatow had previously warned Twitter followers the film would only be available on at-home digital services, posting a tweet to his account that read: “THE KING OF STATEN ISLAND IS ONLY OPENING ON VOD FRIDAY. IT IS NOT OPENING IN THEATERS.” When a user replied saying a local theater was showing the film, Apatow said this was an error, writing: “It won’t be playing there. It is a mistake. It is only on VOD.”
Universal representatives have yet to comment on the blunder, but Hollywood insiders are claiming the release mistake was the result of an internal misunderstanding.