Somewhere the Merc with a Mouth is smiling. (If he’s under his trademark mask, Wade Wilson is hopefully doing the necessary eye acting to express this emotion.)
A Utah theater under threat of severe penalty for its showing of the R-rated antihero comedy Deadpool has been vindicated by a federal judge in a court battle over First Amendment rights. State regulators threatened Salt Lake City’s Brewvies with up to $25,000 in fines and revocation of its liquor licence under a law that banned the selling of booze during screenings of films with simulated sex or full-frontal nudity.
Fox 13 reports that U.S. District Court Judge David Nuffer agreed with Brewvies and established a permanent restraining order against the state. The ruling found that the state violated the theater’s freedom of speech. Brewvies challenged the response of Utah’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control as unconstitutional in their legal fight and Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds ponied up $5,000 to help Brewvies with their case.
“Brewvies is no Playtime Theater. It is not the Pussy Cat. Nor Kandyland, or Teasers, or the Cajun Club, or Angels Sports Bar,” wrote the judge in his ruling. “Brewvies does not focus on sex. It shows the same movies that other, non-sexually oriented movie theaters show but with alcohol. It is not a statutorily defined sexually oriented business.”
No word on if “Brewvies: It’s no Pussy Cat, Kandyland or Teasers” will pop up as the theater’s new slogan.
In the wake of this ruling, the Utah legislature is evaluating its options on how it will approach its ultra-conservative approach to liquor and film screening statutes. The state’s attorney office is still considering appealing the judge’s ruling.