Imagine you are heading to the movies, and on your way in, you grab a beer and take your seat, letting your movie be that much funnier, more exciting, and awesome-r! That’s what Brewvies lets their audiences in Salt Lake City, Utah do. However, when they sold beer to patrons coming in to watch last years superhero comedy Deadpool, they faced a $25,000 fine and a revocation of their liquor license.
Utah has a lot of weird liquor laws, one of which includes not being able to drink alcohol while looking at “Pornographic material or performance”. This law was intended for strip clubs, so you couldn’t get drunk while watching “exotic dancers” such as Vanessa. If you remember from Deadpool, however, not only do we see a strip club, but also a montage of sexy-time between Wade and Vanessa.
“The statutory prohibitions found in the Attire, Conduct and Entertainment Act governs conduct of DABC licensees and specifically addresses the showing of films, still pictures, electronic reproductions, or other visual reproductions depicting sex acts, simulated sex acts, genitals, etc,” –Sheila Page, an assistant attorney general representing DABC
So Utah’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC) attempts to fine Brewvies for serving alcohol and showing sex scenes, so Brewvies sues the DABC for infringing on their right given to them by the First Amendment.
In a letter Monday to the attorney general and the DABC, Salt Lake City attorney Rocky Anderson (the municipality’s former mayor, who represents Brewvies), said the state is apparently operating on “the misperception (and erroneous legal advice) that the DABC can constitutionally restrict the showing of films protected by the U.S. Constitution and the Utah Constitution.” Anderson pointed to the 1996 case of “44 Liquormart, Inc. v. Rhode Island,” in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that the 21st Amendment (which repealed Prohibition) cannot decrease in any manner First Amendment protections, whether or not alcohol is involved. —Salt Lake Tribune
Who else could get involved, but Wade Wilson himself, Ryan Reynolds!
Not only did he take to Twitter, but someone under the name “Reynolds” donated $12,000 on Brewvies GoFundMe, and who else but Ryan himself could afford to put in that much money over a Deadpool related event? And it seems like it helped too, as Brewvies has just won the case!
“The State has violated the First Amendment by bringing an administrative enforcement action against a mainstream motion picture theater showing an R-rated movie,” U.S. District Court Judge David Nuffer wrote in his ruling in support of Brewvies
“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 state argued it had an interest in enforcing the statute, calling the mixing of alcohol and sexual content “an explosive combination.”
This doesn’t mean that strip clubs will be allowed to serve alcohol and show full nudity however. This ruling is specifically about Brewvies, and their allowance to serve alcohol during R-rated films.
I call that a win for Deadpool and local businesses!