Hoaxes & Rumors

Did a U.S. Theater Collapse Before Showing Controversial Film?

Did a U.S. Theater Collapse Before Showing Controversial Film?

A graphic circulating online claims that a theater in the U.S. collapsed before showing an anti-Muslim film. Is there any truth to the story?

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The Story is not real and the Photo is mis-captioned.

The photo has been circulated with the following text,  “…an earthquake hit the cinema of the abusing movie to Prophet Mohammed. The whole cinema is smashed”

Various descriptions of the photo go into more detail, such as this one:

A picture of a cinema in America that was going to play the film of the Prophet Sep 18 at noon. An earthquake hit that area that caused the building into two pieces. The Americans are so shocked at the miracle that they didn’t allow full media coverage on the topic and that’s why you didn’t hear about it on the news today!

The Photo

Now let’s take a look at the photo and the story to see if there is any truth to this account.

The photograph being circulated was actually taken from a news story in 2010 about an earthquake in Chile. The actual photo’s caption reads, “Residents look at a collapsed building in Concepcion, Chile, Saturday Feb. 27, 2010 after an 8.8-magnitude struck central Chile. The epicenter was 70 miles (115 kilometers) from Concepcion, Chile’s second-largest city.”

No Earthquake

According to the US Geological Service, the closest earthquake in the United States during this time period came on September 7, which was a small 3.4  magnitude tremor in Beverly Hills, California. No damage was reported from this quake. You can peruse all earthquakes here, and you’ll see that nothing in the U.S. on September 18 resembles the quake as represented in this story.

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As of this writing, no public screenings of the film are known due to security risks.

Bottom Line

A graphic circulating online claims that a theater in the U.S. collapsed before showing an anti-Muslim film. The supposed photo of the theater included in the graphic actually shows destruction from a 2010 earthquake in Chile. In addition, no significant earthquakes were reported in the U.S. on the date of September 18th. There is no evidence that this event ever occurred.

Updated January 31, 2015
Originally published September 2012

  • waffles

    It is odd that some people seem to comment on articles they clearly didn’t read or understand.

  • waffles

    Thank you for your well-informed comment, with all of the sources you cited to back up your claims. Please give us examples of liberal smearing. Based on your own statements, the fact that your comment appears here must mean you are also a paid commenter. Welcome to the club!

  • Steven

    Allah and Muhammad are both a part of a false religion.

  • bc

    Moderator, you are obviously too politically correct for ur own good. Its okay for muslims to speak ill of Americans but give a little back and u delete it.

    • waffles

      Politically correct? Right is right and wrong is wrong. In this case, the story was fake. Period. And no comments were deleted. They are held in moderation until approved.

  • bc

    Please wake up people. There is no way to insult Mohammed because he is dead. As dead as Osama. As dead as Jesus. It is my right and freedom to speak my mind. No man may limit or restrict me, especially because of some archaic belief. I do not hate muslims. I simply believe that they are foolish. As foolish as Christians and Jews and all other followers of lies and fairy tales. If someone wants to make light of Mohammed or Allah or Jesus or Yahweh, it is well within their right as a freethinking individual to do so. And as for all of you who try to shove your childish beliefs upon others, ask yourself why. It is most likely because deep down you know you dont believe. You are scared of dissent because you fear your lack of faith. Only the insane are zealots. Only the brainwashed are blind. Muslims, you are only beginning to evolve socially. This is not an insult. I am not calling you second class citizens. It is simply historical truth. Islam, at least the radical end, is no different today than the catholic church was during the inquisition. You would torture and murder for your just and loving God? Bah. Get with the times. I do believe that people are capable of evil. I do believe this world is not perfect. But seperating yourself through religion, and hating all those who do not agree can hardly be called a solution. Give up your antiquated beliefs. Stop praying to a myth. Believe in yourself, your family, your friends. Stop hiding behind religion. Own up to your hypocrisy and hate mongering. And for the love of Allah please stop blaming America for everything. The whole world does this and its getting old. If it wasnt for America finding most Muslim countries would be in the dark ages technologically and financially as they are there now spiritually. All of you blaming America for everything sound an awful lot like Hitler blaming the Jews. Grow up. Take responsibility for your peoples barbarism as I am forced to take responsibility for mine.

  • sweetb

    Yeah you were chosen. That’s why your ppl are doing so well. You’d still be in caves f–king camels if America didn’t find ur oil and teach u how to sell it. Your golden age passed 400 yrs ago. You are just a blip now. Insignificant. And you will always be so. its just a shame more of my countrymen wont say so because they hold to a moral authority aka political correctness. But ill say it. You will all be bones in the ground long before the light of freedom stops shining. You are a hair in the back of the throat of mankind. An annoyance. Not a chosen people.

  • sweetb

    Americans. Quit apologizing for things America does. The muslims do not apologize for their torturing and murderous ways. Death to all terrorist Muslim f–ks.

  • athiest

    i have read almost every comment here, and all i see is people will believe what they want, in all religions, facts mean nothing so long as whoever is preaching furthers their own agenda. if there was a god, why did evidence of him just stop showing up? science is the only thing in this world that is all powerful

    • A Correctly-Spelled Atheist


      If Allah was real, why would he be hiding? If Jehovah was real, why would he be hiding?

      If Allah wants somebody dead, why doesn’t he just snap his fingers and POW they’re dead? I’m sure Muslims have a list of reasons for this, just as Christians and Jews have reasons for explaining why THEIR version of God doesn’t show up.

      It’s all delusion. And if I’m wrong … if Allah or Jehovah actually exist … let Him make my computer CRASH before I press the “Post Comment” button.

      I’ll even count to 10 to give Him a fair chance.

      10 … 9 … 8 … 7 … 6 … 5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1

      Well, what do you know? I just proved that neither Allah nor Jehovah exist. How about that?

  • Mohammad Seraji

    Please be cautious about your wording before posting publicly. As other mentioned in other replies, here the word should be “Creator” (who he creates or created) not “Creature” (what has been created). So Allah is the creator and the whole universe is the creature. Please don’t mine, you need to correct the sentence, as it is confusing (and has become a “Kufri” sentence).

  • Umm Hani

    Assalamu Alaikum brother Mustafa.U have raised some valid and logical points.I agree with you.You would be happy to know that there are many muslims who say like you and me too….no doubt we should engage ourselves in Dawah and Tablig more and should pray to Allah for the Hidayah of the Muslims and Imaan for the Kafirs.May Allah guide us all.

  • anon

    To all followers of islam,

    I apologize on behalf of America for the decisions of a hateful few. Everyone must understand that no matter the laws of lands, there will always be someone who wants to stand out and make rediculous claims. The majority of Americans do not hate Muslims, Islam, or your prophet. We welcome the ideas of all peoples, and this land is offered as a place to express all ideas and religions. The courts were right by creating the injunction that the video be removed based on the safety of the actress. However, I agree that the video should be barred from view because its ideas are baseless and only inspire more hate and misunderstanding.
    As a soldier who served for the US Army, it was a privelege to have gone to Afghanistan. My unit was there to train the Afghan Army, so that those people, who personally told me they were happy we were there, could prtect themselves from KILLERS AND THUGS AND TERRORISTS, but of course not from Islam. The goal of the US is not to force anyone into our way, but to provide safety for all people to make their own choices. Your religion and ours is proof that this is the right way. Please do not base your decisions of a whole people on the actions of a few. I did not base hate towards all Middle Eastern people because Al Quada and Taliban wanted to kill Americans.

    A Salam Alaykum. A friend

    • Umm Hani

      Well…maybe personally your motive is good or you are pushed to some thoughts.U know that who created Al QUIDA.it is America itself.that means America itself has given born to Terrorist.Osama bin laden was the agent of America but later he felt sympathy for muslims so he didn’t returned to America.whatever Osama did but is it logical for America to start against all muslims? Well I mean they have make people hate muslims and Islam.Now they are insulting the prophet sm.if the govt would be honest then why they dn call ban for it?why they say it is freedom of speech?….Actually they are not honest about the issues relating to Muslims because in the hearth of their heart they have hate for Muslims.So they always are busy in conspiracy against Muslims in name of Humanity.
      Note:I mention here the leaders and the thinkers not generally all American people.I know there are many good people.

  • Bec

    Even a cursory look at this pic shows the story is wrong.
    The street sign in the photo is in Spanish, pointing to other regions (susburbs?) in Chile.
    The building looks nothing like a cinema, more like an apartment or office block and every single person in the photo has dark hair, if it was America, there would more likely be more diversity in the crowd.
    How easily people are taken in.

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