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“And a lot of it is going to be driven by Tarantino, who is nothing if not predictable.”
By Ryan Parker and Pamela McClintock
In a veiled threat, the largest police union in the country says it has a “surprise” in store for Quentin Tarantino.
Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, would not go into any detail about what is being cooked up for the Hollywood director, but he did tell THR: “We’ll be opportunistic.”
“Tarantino has made a good living out of violence and surprise,” Pasco says. “Our offices make a living trying to stop violence, but surprise is not out of the question.”
The FOP, based in Washington D.C., consists of more than 330,000 full-time, sworn officers. According to Pasco, the surprise in question is already “in the works,” and will be in addition to the standing boycott of Tarantino’s films, including his upcoming movie The Hateful Eight.
“Something is in the works, but the element of surprise is the most important element,” Pasco says. “Something could happen anytime between now and [the premiere]. And a lot of it is going to be driven by Tarantino, who is nothing if not predictable.”
“The right time and place will come up and we’ll try to hurt him in the only way that seems to matter to him, and that’s economically,” Pasco says.
When asked if this was a threat, Pasco said no, at least not a physical threat. “Police officers protect people,” he says. “They don’t go out to hurt people.”
The director of the upcoming Hateful Eight has drawn the ire of unions from the largest police departments in the country, border patrol and other law enforcement organizations.
Last month while marching in New York for a rally against police brutality, Tarantino called police “murderers.” He has since gone public to clarify his remarks, saying that he is not anti-police, but against unarmed men and women being killed by them.
At this point, most box-office analysts don’t think Hateful Eight will be hurt at the box office by the dust-up.
“Tarantino is no stranger to controversy. At the end of the day, this publicity only has people talking about the film more. I don’t think it will negatively impact the box office,” says Phil Contrino of BoxOffice.com. Adds Jeff Bock of Exhibitor Relations, “I think audiences can separate the auteur from the activist since most people who buy a ticket to a Quentin Tarantino film show up to hear what his characters say, not the filmmaker. "I mean Star Wars is about to take over the known media universe. This is just white noise.”
Rentrak’s Paul Dergarabedian has a different opinion. “Quite simply, there’s no way to know whether it will affect box office. Even after it opens, you can’t quantify whether or not a boycott ultimately had an impact. But it has to cause a headache. It’s not the kind of thing you want surrounding your movie, especially in the crowded Christmas frame when it will be going up against movies like Joy. And this situation is gaining traction. The idea that there’s no such thing as bad press isn’t necessarily true here.”
TWC didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the FOP.