MPAA Strikes Back Against Captivity Billboards with Sanction and Suspension

Wow, I don’t know if Lionsgate and After Dark Films should be thrilled or horrified by the continuing saga of their low grade Hostel knockoff, Captivity. The controversy (and inevitable publicity) were brought to a new high last week after the MPAA actually made an unprecedented move to punish those reponsible for the disturbing billboard ads that were posted around L.A. without approval. They issued a press release on Thursday stating that the ratings process for Captivity has been suspended for a month, and After Dark Films will henceforth be “required to clear not only all promotional materials but also the locations and venues of all advertising buys relating to the film”. As far as I know, it’s the first time the MPAA has had to take action against a production company for violating rules about the content of advertisements, as opposed the content of the film itself.

I think I’m in the vast majority when I say that it’s probably a good thing the MPAA did respond to this situation, because if they didn’t, what would stop another company from generating publicity for their movie in the exact same way? After Dark Films knew that they needed to do something drastic to get their movie noticed, and now they’ve got a lot of people wondering if the movie is really as graphic and controversial as its billboards. Of course, by issuing the press release and handing down a suspension, the MPAA may be creating even more free publicity for the film than there would have been if the ads had just been quietly removed. One has to wonder if the benefit will still outweigh the cost for Captivity. What do you think, did the MPAA make the right decision here?

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