By: Nick Bergeman ~Film Fanatic~
An altercation at a local movie theater escalated to a full-scale brawl last Friday, leaving dozens injured after a man in the ticket line referred to “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” as a “film.” The man was relentlessly beaten in the third such incident at the theater.
Martin Berg, the man at the center of the conflict, was waiting in line to purchase a ticket for an evening showing of “Batman v. Superman” at the Oakley Cinemark when he remarked to someone else in line, “I can’t wait to see the film.” Fred Oz, who stood in front of Berg in line, turned to say, “That’s a ‘movie,’ not a ‘film.’ Have some respect for real cinema.”
“I apologized profusely and told him that I love cinema and didn’t mean to offend anyone, but he didn’t seem satisfied,” Berg said.
Several other theatergoers flocked to the disagreement when they overhead the conversation, which sparked a fierce argument about what constituted a “film” and a “movie.” The argument continued to build, with several groups debating various cinematic subjects.
The breathless arguments began to condense into one mob, centering on Oz. Xavier student Reginald Wexler, who was at the theater seeing “Zootopia,” said that the real problem began when the crowd started talking about specific directors.
“The guy who started the whole thing (Oz) started asking everyone who their favorite director and commenting on whether they made ‘films’ or not when he got to the first guy (Berg). I knew there was going to be trouble when he said ‘Michael Bay,’” Wexler said.
“That’s when they started beating me,” Berg said.
“I regret nothing and deserve no punishment for my actions. The man said Michael Bay is his favorite filmmaker. A man with a movie camera does not make him a filmmaker. The other man should be in custody,” Oz said in his police statement.
All told, Berg received roughly 400 blows before the crowd beating him was restrained. Berg is in stable condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, though representatives at the hospital say this is the worst incident of film violence since 2001.
Eight arrests were made, though none of those arrested besides Oz will be charged.
Despite being the victim of a violent crime, Berg apologized to his attackers and expressed regret.
“I cannot believe I said something so dumb. I thank those people for teaching me the proper difference between a ‘film’ and a ‘movie.’ It’s entirely my fault, but I know the rules of the game now,” Berg said.