Major theater chain restores raunchy trailers

Sun Mar 16, 2008 11:48pm EDT
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By Gregg Kilday

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - In a move that will allow movie studios to inject racy jokes into the trailers they use to promote their more adult-oriented films, the nation's largest theater chain has decided to permit restricted, "red band" trailers in its multiplexes.

The move by Regal Entertainment Group, which operates 6,388 screens in 39 states and the District of Columbia, likely will lead to similar decisions at a number of the nation's other major chains.

As last week's ShoWest convention of movie theater owners in Las Vegas drew to a close, the Knoxville, Tenn.-based circuit began notifying the studios of its decision.

The news was received enthusiastically by distributors who have had to promote such R-rated comedies as "Knocked Up" and "Superbad" with sanitized, green band trailers tailored for general audiences.

"This is going to be hugely helpful for us when we want to give targeted moviegoers a true sense of the kind of movies we are offering," said Adam Fogelson, Universal president of marketing and distribution. "I couldn't be happier or more grateful to the people at Regal for continuing the dialogue that has led to this decision."

The MPAA's Advertising Administration, which oversees the advertising materials used by its member studios, approves two types of trailers for use in the theaters. So-called green band trailers -- also known as green-tag trailers -- open with a green advisory card that reads "the following preview has been approved for all audiences." Red band trailers, which can appear only before R-rated, NC-17-rated or unrated movies, warn that "the following preview has been approved for restricted audiences only."

Studios once used red band trailers routinely, but theaters dropped them like hot potatoes after a 2000 Federal Trade Commission report criticizing the entertainment industry for marketing violent entertainment to children.

Exhibitors cut back on red band trailers out of fear of offending patrons and also out of a concern that in handling the dozen or so films screening in a modern multiplex, a red band trailer could be attached inadvertently to a G or PG movie.   Continued...