HYDE PARK — Warner Brothers Pictures backed down after Hyde Parkers berated the studio for not allowing the Harper Theater to show a new biographical film on baseball great Jackie Robinson.
The film, “42,” will open on April 12 at the theater, 5238 S. Harper Ave., after the studio initially denied the movie to the theater.
“We just heard from Warner Brothers that on the heels of a successful weekend with 'Temptation' that we were not chosen among the theaters to be on the first weekend of ’42,’” said Tony Fox, owner of the theater.
Fox started a petition that by Thursday was signed by 472 people in favor of showing the film, which stars Chadwick Boseman as the first African-American to play in the Major Leagues. It also stars Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey, the Dodgers general manager who brought Robinson to the majors.
“I understand that you look at Harper Theater and think they’re a small theater and don't matter, but they do. They are a small theater, but they serve a community that doesn't have a theater showing first-run movies,” said Pam Dierking of Hyde Park.
“They are also serving a community that are not car owners, therefore they go where they can walk to or take public transportation and a 40-minute bus ride to a movie theater is too much for anyone.”
On Wednesday, Fox heard that Warner Brothers relented and would allow the film to be shown.
“I told them I think the film would do well and people wanted to see it and they agreed with me,” Fox said.
He declined to say why Warner Brothers had initially denied his request to show the film, and a representative from the studio did not respond to repeated requests for comment.