Hearne: Really Bad Day at the Office for Star Movie Critic & Local Art Houses

There’s more to the axing yesterday of Kansas City Star movie critic Robert Butler than meets the eye…

For starters, Butler is the first Star staffer of the newspaper’s layoffs era I know of to take a double hit. Two years ago he was given the choice of hitting the road with six months pay and a year of benefits or taking a 25 percent pay hit, loss of vacation and dialed back benefits.

He opted to remain at the Star.

Yesterday’s pink slip means that Butler’s being fired from his parttime position.

"That means he has to wait six months before he can freelance any movie reviews for the Star," says a source.

It was a bad day all aound…

Shortly after learning of his May 13 demise, a somber Butler attended a movie screening with other critics for the new Will Ferrell movie "Everything Must Go."

Unfortunately instead of a stress-relieving laugh riot, Butler buzzed head first into Ferrell’s first-ever serious role about a dude who gets fired, his wife leaves him and he loses everything.

Talk about timing…

Which brings us to the unintended consequences part of Butler’s layoff and inability to review for the Star until November.

"The people that are really going to get hurt by this are the art house people," says a source. "The people at the Tivoli, Glenwood Arts, Leawood and Sceenland theaters. Because he reviews all of those art films and the art houses seem to depend on reviews much more than the mainstream movies do."

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6 Responses to Hearne: Really Bad Day at the Office for Star Movie Critic & Local Art Houses

  1. Super Dave says:

    The Star Sucks
    Well feel sorry for the guy but at same time he knew as well as all of us did the Star sucks and is ran by idiots.

  2. bschloz says:

    extra
    Paid subscriber here going to miss Robert Butler’s Reviews.
    Has it been announced if there will be reviews at all?
    Help Wanted….Used Cars….For Sale by Owner…..
    Hearne can Obits.com be far behind? $$
    Never been a fan of the pay more drive less formula.

  3. Hearne Christopher says:

    Trust me, there will be movie reviews. In recent years they’ve been using more syndicated reviews because the budget cutbacks have limited FYI’s ability to pay local freelancers to fill in for Bob.

    Here’s the deal: FYI doesn’t pay much. $300 per story or column tops two years ago. But probably closer to $50 for a movie – that’s a guess.

    So all we really know now is that Bob’s movie-reviewing hands will be tied for six months. I’m hearing he’s looking for a teaching gig at KU

  4. craig glazer says:

    Butler Will Be Missed
    A great guy. He was always kind to me and gave me a couple very nice movie reviews on my sports films one on Ali and one on Ruberto Duran. Butler has been covering my King Of Sting deal as well. The Star is running out of well, STARS. Not many name writers left. What a shame. Yes I get the Star at my house. Its getting even thinner. Very sad, hope it all works out for Butler, he’s earned a much better treatment than he is getting.

  5. CMac says:

    Butler is an old man who is totally out of touch with today’s audiences. Good riddance.

  6. Pauline Willison says:

    Robert Butlers reviews were why we keep the Star. We now have no reason to buy it.
    I could always tell when I would need to buy my ticket ahead to a film….if Bob gave it a great rating, it would be sold out. We counted on him to guide us. Yes, we use Rotten Tomatoes but we knew the type of films that Bob reviewed highly, we would also enjoy. What a loss.

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