Try, try again: Cineworld bows to Robert the Bruce campaign

Cineworld has decided to show a new film about the Scottish warrior king Robert the Bruce after a campaign, backed by the former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond and the SNP MP Carol Monaghan, accused the cinema chain of effectively “burying” it.

Cineworld was not going to show Robert the Bruce, which had its world premiere at the Edinburgh international film festival on 23 June, in Scotland for “commercial reasons”, but after a campaign led by its star and writer Angus Macfadyen – who also played the role in Braveheart – it will now show in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee and Falkirk.

A petition – addressed to the Cineworld chief executive, Mooky Greidinger – “formally [requested] the showing of the new Robert the Bruce movie across Scotland”, and received more than 5,600 signatures.

In a Facebook post which started with a quote from French post-impressionist painter Paul Gauguin about the human condition, Alex Salmond said that the film explores “fundamental truths about what it is to be human, which were as applicable in the winter of 1306 as they are in the summer of 2019”.

Monaghan also put pressure on the cinema chain, tweeting her support and asking Cineworld to “confirm and explain” its reasons for not showing the film in Scotland. Macfadyen thanked supporters for a “well-orchestrated campaign which reminded [him] of Bannockburn”, and previously said that the decision to not show the film effectively amounted to “burying the bairn in her infancy”.

A Cineworld spokesman said: “We are pleased to have been able to make room in the schedule for Robert the Bruce and it will be playing at Cineworld in Scotland.”

Leslie Felperin, who reviewed the film for the Guardian and gave it three stars, said that even though the film “features numerous American actors attempting Scottish accents with varying degrees of success” and “was shot mostly in Montana” it was a “thoughtful, well-meaning crack at historical drama”.

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