Marcus Theaters have released a statement saying the movie theater chain will not be showing the movie” Slender Man” in Milwaukee and Waukesha county, according to FOX6 Now.
The horror movie, set to be released on August 10, tells the story of a group of friends in a small town in Massachusetts, “fascinated by the internet lore of the Slender Man, who attempt to prove that he doesn’t actually exist — until one of them mysteriously goes missing,” according to IMDB.
The Movie Was Inspired By a Stabbing in Waukesha, Wisconsin, When Two 12-Year-Old Girls Stabbed Their Classmate 19 Times
The movie draws from the same Internet meme that inspired the events in the 2014 Slender Man stabbing case in Waukesha, Wisconsin. In the real event that transpired in Waukesha, two 12-year-old girls allegedly lured their friend and classmate to the woods, where Morgan Geyser stabbed the classmate 19 times while Anissa Weier urged her on, according to investigators. Weier and Geyser were attempting to impress the fictional character Slender Man, but told police that they were worried Slender Man would kill them or their families if they didn’t kill their friend.
Payton Leutner, the young girl who Geyser and Weier attempted to murder, was left for dead but found a way to crawl to the roadside where she was found. She eventually recovered after six days in the hospital, but both Weier and Geyser were found not guilty by reason of insanity. Geyser pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree intentional homicide in October of 2017 in a deal with prosecutors to avoid prison, and Weier was sentenced to 25 years in a mental hospital in December of 2017 after pleading guilty to being a party to attempted second-degree intentional homicide, according to Fox 6.
Screen Gems Denies that the Movie Sensationalizes the Stabbing, but Marcus Theaters Still Chose Not to Screen the Movie in Milwaukee or Waukesha Counties
In a statement, studio Screen Gems said the movie “is based on an original fictional character that became a viral internet sensation. The film is in no way a dramatization of any real-life individuals or events.” Despite the claim that the movie has nothing to do with the actual events, Marcus Theater chose to respect the families of those impacted by the 2014 stabbing.
Marcus Theatres released the following statement to FOX6 News:
“Like many people across the United States, Marcus Theatres was deeply concerned and saddened when the Slender Man phenomenon touched Southeastern Wisconsin in such a profound way, changing the lives of many families forever. After careful consideration, and out of respect for those who were impacted, we have decided not to play the upcoming Slender Man movie in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties. We will show the film at select other Marcus Theatres locations.”
When the movie was announced last year, it sparked controversy and complaints from Anissa Weier’s father, Bill Weier, which led to an online petition seeking to halt the movie’s release. More than 19,000 people had signed it.
As of Wednesday, Marcus was showing the movie in just six theaters in Wisconsin, with the Sheboygan Cinema the nearest to Milwaukee, according to FOX6.