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SAN DIEGO -- FilmOut San Diego on Tuesday afternoon reluctantly canceled its planned tribute to gay icon and music diva Whitney Houston and the screening of "The Bodyguard" that was planned for Wednesday at the historic Birch North Park Theatre.
Tuesday morning, officials with the local LGBT nonprofit group received an email from the film distributor declaring that Warner Brothers, the film studio that holds the rights to the movie, was pulling the worldwide rights to show "The Bodyguard."
In addition, the last-minute notice from Warner Brothers prevents FilmOut officials from showing a replacement movie with no time to choose one or successfully promote it. The move by Warner Brothers came just a couple of hours after San Diego Gay & Lesbian News published a preview of the event, and SD PIX magazine sent out an email blast to thousands of subscribers.
"FilmOut San Diego was advised Tuesday morning that the global rights to show Whitney Houston's 'The Bodyguard' have been pulled by the releasing studio, Warner Brothers. This means that FilmOut is unable to legally show the film at the Birch North Park Theatre on Wednesday, March 14," said David Swietlik, treasurer for the FilmOut.
"Any advanced sales will be refunded. FilmOut apologizes for any inconvenience, but this action by Warner Brothers is totally out of FilmOut's control."
A large crowd was expected to attend the tribute and screening, so the nonprofit organization stands to lose a substantial amount of money that goes toward presenting the annual LGBT Film Festival, which this year will be presented May 30 through June 3 at the Birch North Park Theatre.
Whitney Houston was found dead in her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Feb. 11, 2012, on the eve of the annual Grammy Awards. The cause of death has yet to be officially determined.
Future FilmOut events
The next FilmOut San Diego event will be the Super Sci-Fi Saturday and the showing of six popular science-fiction movies: "Logan's Run," "Flash Gordon," "Barbarella," "The Fly," "Re-Animator" and "Frankenhooker." The screenings will start at noon on Saturday, April 7. A costume contest is planned. An all-access pass is $20.
On April 18, FilmOut will show "Cry-Baby," the 1990 movie by director-writer John Waters and starring Johnny Depp, Ricki Lake and Amy Locane.