Universal Shanks The Little Guy

SNL’s Pete Davidson’s new movie The King Of Staten Island has been abruptly removed from screening at drive-in theatres across the U.S.

Directed by Judd Apatow, the film premiered on VOD services last Friday after previous plans for a theatre release were shelved as a result of the pandemic. Plans were then altered to debut the movie this weekend in a limited number of theaters — mostly drive-ins — that were able to remain open.

Drive-in venue owners began selling tickets for The King Of Staten Island after receiving the go-ahead to do so from officials at Universal Studios.

Now, a couple of days away before the premiere, Universal has pulled the movie and is not allowing it to be shown at drive-in venues.

One Drive-in theater owner told Variety –

“There was no explanation (from Universal). They changed their mind,”

“This caused a considerable amount of ill will with customers who bought tickets online showing up for the Thursday 7pm show.”

Apatow warned Twitter followers the film would only be available on-at-home digital services, posting a tweet to his account that read –

When a user replied saying a local theater was showing the film, Apatow said this was an error, writing –

“It won’t be playing there. It is a mistake. It is only on VOD.”

The news has clearly caused animosity within the community of drive-in theater owners, many of whom have been promoting showtimes and selling tickets for the film.

Now, they’ve had to offer refunds, leaving them little time to find new content to promote, then screen within a short notice. Universal didn’t give owners any reasoning for its decision-making.