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Rambo not shown at Odeon cinemas on opening weekend

John Rambo

Story by Jack Foley

SYLVESTER Stallone’s fourth Rambo film is not being shown by the UK’s largest cinema chain during its opening weekend.

The surprise move was announced by Odeon on Friday (February 22, 2008) due to undisclosed “commercial reasons”. But it has fuelled speculation surrounding the film’s box office potential as well as its content.

The fourth film in the Rambo franchise finds Stallone’s Vietnam veteran returning to action in Burma, when he is called upon to rescue a group of relief workers after they have been captured.

It features an estimated 240 deaths in its 90-minute running time and includes scenes of rape, mutilation and torture. Stallone maintains he wanted to depict war in a realistic fashion, but critics have accused him of cashing in.

The film performed well at the US box office during its opening weekend and was keenly anticipated by fans of the series, who are not reportedly furious with Odeon in areas where the cinema chain offers them the only means of access to the film.

Certainly, the decision is extremely rare for a high-profile film of this nature and some insiders have attributed it to a breakdown in negotiations between Odeon and the film’s distributor, Sony.

Odeon has refused to comment any further except to say that “owing to commercial reasons, Odeon has made the decision not to screen the film Rambo across its cinemas in the UK”.

The statement continues: “As the UK’s largest cinema chain, Odeon offers its guests a wide range of film genres to appeal to many different audiences. As such the decision not to screen Rambo will free up screens to show alternative popular new films such as Jumper, Be Kind Rewind and Juno. We are unable to comment further on this issue.”

If, as some suggest, the decision was fuelled by the film’s graphically violent content, then it seems strange that another of this week’s releases – WAZ – is being screened by the cinema chain. WAZ stars Stellan Skarsgaard as a cop investigating a violent series of murders in which victims must watch their loved ones being tortured to death and have the chance to intervene.

Read our verdict on Rambo or find out why it missed out on UK top spot at box office