Idaho State Police Bans Alcohol Theater Showings of ‘50 Shades of Grey’

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Movie theaters showing 'Fifty Shades of Grey' are not allowed to serve alcohol to moviegoers, according to Idaho Code. - FIFTY SHADES OF GREY
  • Fifty Shades of Grey
  • Movie theaters showing 'Fifty Shades of Grey' are not allowed to serve alcohol to moviegoers, according to Idaho Code.

Though hot-and-heavy film Fifty Shades of Grey contains adult themes, it can't be screened with an adult beverage in hand. The Alcohol Beverage Control Bureau of the Idaho State Police has prohibited movie theaters that serve alcohol from selling drinks during showings of the R-rated blockbuster, which features scenes of bondage and sadomasochism.

According to the Associated Press, at least two theaters have been ordered to follow an Idaho state law that bans the serving of alcohol during screenings of sexually explicit films, defined as depicting “acts of simulated acts of sexual intercourse, masturbation, sodomy, bestiality, oral copulation and flagellation,” as well as “any person being touched, caressed or fondled on the breast, buttocks, anus or genitals.”

Fifty Shades has been tremendously popular so far, earning a record-setting $30 million on its opening day, Feb. 13. The box office raked in $81.7 million over its opening weekend—the three-day Presidents' Day holiday weekend that included Valentine's Day. It was the highest-grossing Presidents' Day weekend release of all time.

The Alcohol Beverage Control Bureau isn’t alone in raising an eyebrow at the film's controversial storyline. When the movie first came out, Boise Weekly had a conversation with Kelly Miller, the executive director of the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence. She told BW she wasn’t happy with the message the film was sending.

“In the context of this movie,” she said, “they are celebrating and legitimizing sexual violence. They’re selling it as a Valentine’s Day story.”

Fifty Shades of Grey isn’t the first movie to be the target of the Alcohol and Beverage Control Bureau, either. In October 2013, BW reported on the award-winning French film Blue is the Warmest Color, which was banned in Idaho because it was rated NC-17.

The movie followed two high-school girls as they underwent a sapphic awakening together. Because Edwards Cinemas makes it a practice not to book NC-17 films, the movie should have landed at The Flicks, but because the art house theater has an alcohol license, management didn’t want to risk booking the film. After the story went international, the downtown Edwards 9 theater screened the film for a limited engagement in December 2013.