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Utah movie theater could lose liquor license for screening 'Deadpool'

A state law prohibits alcohol sales with a side dish of sexually oriented entertainment.

Apparently, the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control can't deal with this much sexy on the big screen.
Video screenshot by Danny Gallagher/CNET

Marvel's "Deadpool" was a critical and a commercial hit. However, it didn't get a very good review from the folks at the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control when two of its agents saw it in a certain movie theater.

Brewvies Cinema Pub, a theater that serves meals and drinks to customers during screenings, is in danger of losing its liquor sales license after the DABC said the theater violated a state law that prohibits the sale of alcohol on premises that also offer certain forms of sexually oriented entertainment.

A Brewvies representative referred all questions to the theater's attorney, Rocky Anderson, who could not be reached by phone for comment. A spokesperson for the DABC also told CNET the agency could not comment on the matter "as it's going into litigation."

The DABC sent two undercover officers to the movie theater on February 23, reported FOX 13 of Salt Lake City on Monday. They each bought a ticket for the Marvel film and a beer. The undercover officers noted in their report that the title character, played by Ryan Reynolds, "is shown numerous times engaging in acts or simulated acts of sexual intercourse with the female counterpart during a holiday themed sex-montage."

The officers noted the audience who saw the movie were also treated (or subjected, depending on your point of view) to scenes of full frontal nudity of Reynolds' naked body during a fight scene with Ajax Francis played by Ed Skrein and a nude stripper later in the film. (So these officers get paid to watch movies like "Deadpool" and drink beer. Does anyone know if the DABC is hiring?)

The DABC filed a complaint against Brewvies, saying a state obscenity law prohibits them from screening these kinds of movies if they also want the legal ability to sell alcohol.

According to Utah's Attire, Conduct and Entertainment Act enacted by the state legislature in 2010, businesses are prohibited from "employing or using a person in the sale, offer for sale or furnishing of an alcoholic product" if that person is in "a state of nudity, a state of seminudity or performance attire of clothing that exposes to view any portion of the female breast below the top of the areola or the cleft of the buttocks."

That's right. Utah's state code actually contains words like "areola" and "buttocks." Giggle if you must. The law is generally used to regulate alcohol and nudity at strip clubs, according to the Associated Press.

The movie theater hopes to fight the DABC with funds raised from a GoFundMe campaign. The theater set a fundraising goal of $75,000 for a legal defense fund that they plan to use to seek "an injunction against the enforcement of a statute that violates our freedom of speech," according to an update posted on the fundraising page.

The theater also posted on the GoFundMe page that the DABC has levied fines and suspensions against them in the past over similar infractions for screening films like "The Hangover Part II," "Magic Mike XXL" and "Ted 2."

If Brewvies really wants to fight this, they should get a hold of Wade Wilson himself and have him release a statement to the press or include him in their legal defense. He hasn't said anything about it on his Twitter page as of Wednesday. Having Deadpool on the witness stand would at least make the legal proceedings way more entertaining to watch or read. They usually don't contain nearly enough references to Saturday morning cartoons or "X-Men Origins."