A few weeks ago, AMC announced that it was making Hatchet II the widest release for an unrated film in 25 years. Not that I really care much about Hatchet II, but it was a pretty cool move on AMC’s part, considering the MPAA has long been able to perform de facto censorship: if the MPAA gives your movie an NC-17 rating, most theaters won’t show it, and thus no one will see your movie. It’s basically a corrupt system that people have known about for years (and that Hatchet II director Adam Green complained about), but hey, momentum. Fast forward to today, AMC has pulled Hatchet II from its theaters. Official word from AMC is that it was pulled due to poor ticket sales ($52K in 68 theaters for a $774 average — compare with this week’s top 10), but of course plenty of people think it had something to do with MPAA pressure.
The decision by AMC to exhibit an unrated film attracted a lot of attention in the media—as did Green’s attacks on the MPAA, which included his assertion that it was an “evil” organization. Green now speculates this may have been the reason why the chain pulled his movie.
“I assume it probably had something to do with the controversy online about an unrated movie playing in theaters,” says the director. “To me, the whole thing is unfortunate because this is not a movie that deserves to be unrated. It’s a very funny, silly slasher movie about a swamp ghost that’s killing people in ridiculous ways. And now it’s become, you know, ‘Banned from cinemas.'” [EW]
Green and others fairly point out that there have been other films with numbers as low as Hatchet‘s that didn’t get pulled from theaters (Chain Letter, for instance), but the box office was still pretty bad. Does that mean AMC caved to MPAA pressure? Maybe. I’d probably file it under “not worth the hassle.”
Regardless, AMC deserves some credit for at least trying to open an unrated movie when no one else did. The larger issue is that the MPAA is a sh*tty organization full of sh*tty people catering to sh*tty interests. I’m sick of having my interests held hostage by the 5% of people out there dumb enough to care whether people use a word that got deemed “naughty” back when doctors used leeches and merkins were sexy. Do I get to stop you from reading The Secret or queefing out your dumb wiener kids? No. Yet I have to put asterices in my swear words just in case some toothless mongoloids want to test their retard strength by boycotting something. Awesome system we’ve got.