A federal judge has sided with a movie theater in Utah that was facing revocation of its liquor license for showing the R-rated Deadpool. In April of 2016, the state of Utah threatened to take the liquor license of the Brewvies theater for showing Deadpool while serving alcohol. The state contends the theater violated Utah liquor laws that forbid licensees from showing full nudity or sexually explicit conduct. Brewvies previously faced a fine for violating the same statute by showing The Hangover, Part II and the theater accused the DABC of threatening its license over Magic Mike XXL and Ted 2.
Last year, three undercover agents bought beer and watched a screening of Deadpool (and probably had a great time) at Brewvies. Because of a state law prohibiting the display of sexual material in a place that serves alcohol, the DABC threatened to fine the theater $25,000 and suspend their liquor license for 10 days. The cinema pub decided to stand their ground on the basis of the R-rated movie being protected under the First Amendment.
According to Good4Utah, Brewvies sued the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, challenging the law as unconstitutional and as of Thursday, they have won. In his ruling, Judge Nuffer said the provision of liquor laws that landed Brewvies in hot water is "overbroad." Unlike strip clubs that face similar regulation, Brewvies is not an adult-oriented business. Nuffer wrote: "Brewvies is no Playtime Theater. It is not the Pussy Cat. Nor Kandyland, or Teasers, or the Cajun Club, or Angels Sports Bar. Brewvies does not focus on sex. It shows the same movies that other, non-sexually oriented movie theaters show but with alcohol. It is not a statutorily defined sexually oriented business." The judge certainly seems to know his way around adult-oriented landmarks in Utah.
The news of the big win for Brewvies and the residents in Utah who enjoy adult beverages and movies, comes after the Eccles Theater in downtown Salt Lake City caved to the pressures of the DABC and would not allow beer to be consumed inside the theater space while the musical "The Book of Mormon" was being performed because of a scene featuring nudity. It's pretty amazing that the theater was even allowed to show the hit Broadway musical as the show playfully mocks the Mormon religion, which is heavily prevalent in Utah and especially Salt Lake City.
Brewvies has fought for the right to consume alcoholic beverages while watching R-rated movies in Utah and it is now legal, thanks to their diligence in fighting the for the First Amendment. The whole story seems like it could have taken place in the fictional town of Bomont in Footloose where dancing and rock music was outlawed. Coincidentally, Footloose was filmed in Utah... Utah does have pretty strict liquor laws, but now residents can enjoy a cold one with the boys while watching some gloriously sinful R-rated movies, like Deadpool and the upcoming Deadpool 2.