I just have to chime in on this one...
After Dark Films is being punished (for lack of a better word) by the MPAA for publishing an ad campaign for the upcoming film Captivity which caused an outcry from a ton of folks. You've probably heard about it: After Dark Films hired an ad agency to create a campaign for the upcoming film starring Elisha Cuthbert. The ad company came up with some billboard ads that depicted Cuthbert at various stages during the movie, with the captions "Abduction", "Confinement", "Torture" and "Termination". Each caption had an image underneath it, with each image progressively more unsettling than the one before. I will not put the image in-line with this post, but you can view it by clicking here.
The film is along the lines of Hostel and Saw in that it is a captive/torture film.
After the outcry, ads were pulled from billboards and the tops of taxicabs.
Now the issue is that the MPAA had denied After Dark permission to run the ads, and two days later the ads were up in public. This also flies in the face of the initial argument put forth by After Dark Films that the ads were the result of a screw-up and that they hadn't approved the images created by the publisher of the ads.
So now the MPAA is temporarily withholding granting a rating to the film and is demanding to sign off on any and all further advertising for the movie.
A lot of movie blogs out there are questioning this move. Personally, I give them credit for standing up to the distributor. I know folks in the industry like to bash the MPAA, perhaps rightly so in some cases, but here I think they're right. In the wake of the Boston bomb scare advertising debacle I can see lots of so-called "cutting edge" ad companies taking the bad boy approach to movie marketing, and I think that's a bad direction to head in.
What's ironic about the entire thing is that based on what I've heard about it so far, Captivity may not end up even doing well at the box office. Look at Snakes on a Plane: Tons of pre-release buzz and it still fizzled.
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