'Straight Outta Compton' attendees dismiss theater security concerns

Fri Aug 14, 2015 5:35am EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Attendees at opening night screenings of rap biopic "Straight Outta Compton" in Southern California dismissed concerns about the film triggering violence amid heightened racial tension across the nation, although theaters stepped up the security presence.

"Straight Outta Compton", the story of rap collective N.W.A, from Compton, California, opened on Thursday as protests take place in Ferguson, Missouri, to mark the anniversary of the fatal shooting of black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer.

It follows N.W.A, which included rappers Dr Dre and the late Eazy-E, as they rose to fame in the late 1980s with lyrics drawing from the violence, crime and anti-police sentiments that the rappers themselves had experienced growing up in Compton.

Brown's death was one in a series of police killings of unarmed black men and women across the U.S. that has renewed the debate on race and justice.

Against that backdrop, and with security at movie theaters in focus after a gunman killed two women in a Louisiana screening of "Trainwreck" in July, private security and police presence was increased at a number of venues.

"(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, the largest provider of security to U.S. movie theaters, told Reuters.

At a screening in South Gate, a neighboring city of Compton, an employee checking attendees' bags on entry said the theater hired extra security for the film's opening. One guard was stationed outside of the film's screening room.

N.W.A. founding member Ice Cube, one of the film's producers, praised the efforts of the studio and theaters.   Continued...

Compton natives Gracie Alvarez (L) and her sister Arcy Alvarez wait in line for an advanced screening of "Straight Outta Compton" in Downey, California August 13, 2015. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni