'Juice' premiere brings night of violence 1 viewer killed, 4 wounded in fights

January 19, 1992

Violence broke out at theaters in at least eight states after Friday night's premiere of the urban film drama "Juice." One teen-ager was killed, and four other people were wounded.

Although the fights involved theatergoers, police said much of it was random violence that could have occurred anywhere.

Chicago police Detective Roland Paulnitsky said the death of a 16-year-old girl outside a theater showing "Juice" resulted from "a street altercation with a rival street gang."

"This was not a result of that movie," he said.

Many theater owners added extra security to forestall the kind of violence that plagued "Boyz 'n the Hood" and "New Jack City," two other films about inner-city life. One person was killed in disturbances when each of those films opened last year.

Paramount Pictures, which distributed "Juice," offered to pay for extra security for any theater that wanted it.

A Paramount spokesman in Los Angeles said yesterday that the company regrets the violence but regards the fights as isolated incidents.

Managers of an Anchorage, Alaska, theater stopped the film and called police after about a dozen fights broke out. There were no serious injuries.

In Chicago, Detective Paulnitsky said that Tydsa Cherry, 16, of suburban Alsip either had just seen the movie or was waiting in line for it when she was hit by a stray bullet from a fight between two boys waiting for tickets to the last show.

Off-duty officers moonlighting as security guards quickly arrested a 14-year-old boy, Detective Paulnitsky said.

Elsewhere, an 18-year-old Philadelphia man was paralyzed from the chest down after he was shot coming out of the movie at a theater in suburban Cheltenham, a hospital spokeswoman said. Police said they had no suspects and didn't know what the fight was about.

In Lansing, Mich., a theater canceled yesterday's showings of the film after two groups of youths had a gunfight in the lobby as the movie let out Friday night.

A 17-year-old Lansing boy was hospitalized with leg wounds.

In New York City, a 16-year-old boy was stabbed in a theater during a quarrel with another teen-ager.

Police in North Little Rock, Ark., said one person was injured in a fight in a theater there.

"Juice" tells of four black Harlem youths, including one who gets involved in a robbery that ends in murder. The movie was directed and co-written by filmmaker Ernest Dickerson, who has worked as Spike Lee's cinematographer.

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