Slow to fulfill its promise to remove the offensive billboards forcing local motorists to contemplate Elisha Cuthbert's graphic abduction, confinement, torture, and termination as they helplessly idle at traffic-clogged intersections, After Dark Films now feels the wrath of the MPAA, which has responded to public outrage over the unapproved ads by suspending the ratings process and demanding that all subsequent promotion materials be cleared with the organization if Captivity hopes to ever get the R it probably needs to make any money. Chideth the ratings board:
"The sanctions in this case are severe because this was an unacceptable and flagrant violation of MPAA rules and procedures," Gordon said in a statement.
Public reaction to the billboards was strong, as MPAA switchboards lit up with complaints as well as questions about what to do, an org official said. When MPAA ordered After Dark to remove the ads, the company responded slowly, eventually complying but replacing the original ads with a sign reading "Captivity was here," as if to have the last word. Ads at bus shelters in L.A. were still displayed Thursday.
Sanction comes in response to After Dark's "prominent display in both Los Angeles and New York of advertising that the MPAA had explicitly disapproved as inappropriate for general public viewing," the org said Thursday in a statement.
"MPAA reviews tens of thousands of promotional materials each year," Gordon said. "The good news is that — as disturbing as this case has been — it marks a rare instance where a company has acted in such a clear and direct violation of our rules. The overwhelming majority of companies and filmmakers understand, support and abide by MPAA rules and procedures. It is now up to After Dark Films to restore good faith with the MPAA."
It seems that the MPAA, touchy about the uproar started by the naughty, publicity-craving little studio, won't even put up with the mildly cheeky "Captivity was here" replacement ads; their hardline stance will probably force After Dark to scrap the even more ambitious promotional campaign they've been testing out in Minnesota, where they've rigged open manholes to play back Cuthbert's anguished screams seconds before potential ticket-buying passers-by are doused by gallons of fake blood blasted upward through the pavement.
- Lights out for After Dark ads [Variety]