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Distributor Passes Up Edwards’ Plans for ‘Last Exit’

The Edwards Theater chain--which last week backed out of showing the earthy, R-rated “Last Exit to Brooklyn” at its Lido Cinema in Newport Beach--subsequently spent days trying to book the movie into its upscale Hutton Centre multiplex in Santa Ana, The Times has learned.

But Edwards got its answer Thursday from the film’s distributor: No.

The Cinecom distributing company “did not want to add another run in Orange County,” said chain chairman Jim Edwards. “When they expand the market, I’ll book the picture.”

Richard Abramowitz, Cinecom’s senior vice president for marketing and sales, confirmed Edwards’ version of the story but questioned the theater owner’s motives. “They clearly have a PR problem they need to address,” said Abramowitz, referring to public reaction to the chain’s initial decision to pull the movie, an R-rated depiction of life in a working-class neighborhood.

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Edwards has said he considers the Lido a “family, neighborhood theater” where he prefers not to book “a real hard ‘R’ picture.” The Hutton, meanwhile, has more screens and shows a variety of movies; two pictures involved in recent ratings controversies are playing there now, “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover” and “Wild Orchid.”

Edwards noted that when he pulled “Last Exit” from the Lido, he immediately offered to show it at his Bristol theater in Santa Ana. But the producers moved it instead to the AMC Mainplace in the same city.


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