The new Slender Man movie will open in theaters across America on Friday – with the exception of one Wisconsin area where the story hits too close to home.
Residents in the Milwaukee and Waukesha counties will need to go elsewhere to catch the film, about a fictional boogeyman who stalks and traumatizes children.
Slender Man, which originated online, had real-life consequences when it compelled two young girls to lure their 12-year-old friend into the woods and stab her 19 times.
Now Marcus Theaters, the largest theater chain in the state, has decided to spare residents a reminder of the tragedy that almost took Payton Leutner’s life.
The new Slender Man movie will open in theaters across America on Friday, but residents in the Milwaukee and Waukesha counties will need to go elsewhere to catch it
Marcus Theaters, the largest theater chain in the state, will spare residents a reminder of the stabbing tragedy connected to Slenderman that almost left a 12-year-old girl dead
‘Like many people across the United States, Marcus Theatres was deeply concerned and saddened when the Slender Man phenomenon touched southeastern Wisconsin in such a profound way, changing the lives of many families forever,’ Ann Salder, the chain’s vice president and chief marketing officer, said in a statement.
‘After careful consideration, and out of respect for those who were impacted, we have decided not to play the upcoming ‘Slender Man’ movie in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties.’
‘We will show the film at select other Marcus Theatres locations.’
According to online listings, it appears the film is only showing in six theaters across Wisconsin.
The film comes four years after Anissa Weier (left) and Morgan Geyser (right) lured Leutner to a wooded park in Waukesha and nearly stabbed her to death
Geyser stabbed Leutner (pictured) 19 times, narrowly missing her heart, as Weier urged her on
The horror film follows a group of high school girls who perform a ritual to debunk the lore of Slenderman.
But when one of the girls mysteriously disappears, they realize she may be his latest victim – and that they could be next.
The film comes four years after Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser lured Leutner to a wooded park in Waukesha.
Geyser then stabbed Leutner 19 times, narrowly missing her heart, as Weier urged her on.
Weier and Geyser, who were both 12 at the time, told detectives they had to kill Leutner to prove to Slenderman that they were worthy of being his servants as well as protect their families from him.
The horror film (pictured) follows a group of high school girls who perform a ritual to debunk the lore of Slenderman, only to potentially become his next victims
Leutner managed to crawl out of the woods and get help from a passing bicyclist.
She was left with 25 ‘uncomfortable’ scars that are ‘still red and angry more than three years later’, her mother recently revealed.
Weier and Geyser were both convicted but found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.
Geyser was sentenced to 40 years in a mental hospital, while Weier was sentenced to 25 years for the crime.
Weier’s father spoke out after news of the film first became public, saying he hoped local theaters wouldn’t show it.
Weier (right) and Geyser (left) were both convicted but found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. Geyser was sentenced to 40 years in a mental hospital, Weier was sentenced to 25 years in a mental hospital
Leutner is now a high school sophomore. Her mother recently revealed she has 25 ‘uncomfortable’ scars that are ‘still red and angry more than three years later’
‘It’s absurd they want to make a movie like this,’ he said in January. ‘It’s popularizing a tragedy is what it’s doing.’
He added that the Slender Man movie was just ‘extending the pain all three of these families have gone through.’
Studio Screen Gems then released a statement saying the film was ‘based on an original fictional character that became a viral internet sensation’ and was ‘in no way a dramatization of any real-life individuals or events’.
The creepy character of Slenderman is a fairly recent invention.
Eric Knudson first created the boogeyman as part of an online art contest and soon it became a popular meme and the focus of horror stories on the site creepypasta.