The Atlantic Moviehouse, a New Jersey movie theater Kevin Smith recently agreed to purchase a share in, reportedly received a threatening phone call yesterday. The call suggested that if Smith were to move ahead with the purchase, the theater would receive bomb threats. The news came via Ernie O'Donnell, an actor in the first Clerks who is serving as Smith's caretaker for the theater, and there is no clear indication who placed the calls yet. Smith himself took the news to social media to ask whether he should take the threats seriously, or assume it was a misplaced joke about "how my movies have bombed in theaters."
While Smith has a significant fan base, his films have not been without some controversy, especially Dogma. The 1999 hit drew the ire of the Catholic League, a religious advocacy group, for poking fun at the church. Some Christians also expressed disapproval at the choice to cast Alanis Morissette as God.
"I don't want to alarm you but, we just got a call at the theater," Smith received in a text message. "The person asked my manager if Kevin Smith was buying the theater. They said that we shouldn't do that and that if we did, there would be bomb threats. I have informed Fred Rast who instructed us to inform the police. My manager has called the police to report it. The number is a California number. I'm sure it was some a-hole kids. But I thought you should know. I'll keep you updated."
Smith announced his intention to buy the theater -- along with his wife, Jennifer Schwalback; investor Jeff Swanton; and Leeloo Multiprops, a company that sells movie props, collectables, and celebrity experiences -- during a recent episode of Hollywood Babble-On, his podcast with Ralph Garman. The theater -- which is almost 100 years old, and has been a staple of Smith's hometown for his whole life -- will be rebranded as Smodcastle Cinemas, and Smith plans to screen movies as normal most of the year, but also use the venue as home to speaking events, live shows, film festivals, and other View Askew-related shindigs.
Fans on social media suggested that Smith should take the threat seriously until and unless it's proven to be nothing at which point he can have a laugh at the whole situation. It's one thing to go undercover and protest your own movie on the local news; it's another thing when the the threat could get someone injured. Even if the caller was only suggesting that people might call in bomb threats to disrupt the theater's business, and not actually plant bombs, it is not unheard-of for people to be injured during evacuations for that kind of thing.