Movie theater chain Cinemark is showing an NC-17 movie for the first time in the company’s history, when Blue is the Warmest Color debuts this Friday at Century 12 in Evanston.
“It’s strictly a one theater test that we’re trying with this film and this theater,” Cinemark marketing manager Frank Gonzales told Patch. “There’s no overall policy change at Cinemarks across the country.”
The film tells the story of a teenage girl named Adèle, played by Adèle Exarchopoulos, who begins a powerful romantic relationship with an older woman named Emma, played by Léa Seydoux. It debuted last weekend in New York and L.A. to very positive reviews from critics such as A.O. Scott of the New York Times, who called it “glorious,” and Peter Travers of Rolling Stone, who described it as an “ardent and affecting French love story, now unfairly categorized as ‘that three-hour lesbian movie.’”
Cinemark has a longstanding policy of not showing NC-17 films in any of its theaters, according to Gonzales. However, he said the company had been thinking of doing a test run of an NC-17 film at some point.
“It just happens to be the right movie at the right time,” he said.
Blue Is The Warmest Color is not showing at any other Cinemark theater in the country, according to Gonzales. Asked whether Evanston would get more films like Blue, he said that was a decision the company would make further down the line.
“It may be a success or it may not, and we may or may not get more NC-17 films,” he said.
Evanston city manager Wally Bobkiewicz said he and Cinemark officials had a conversation about showing more arthouse films more than a year ago, based on demand from residents.
“This is in part in response to our concerns from residents that they weren’t showing enough art movies,” Bobkiewicz said.
Gonzales said the company always welcomes suggestions from the audience.
Blue is the Warmest Color opens on Friday, Nov. 1, with showings at 12:20 p.m., 4:25 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. An employee at Century 12 told Patch that the movie will continue showing through Thursday, Nov. 7, and may stay even longer if there’s enough interest.