by David Outten and Ted Baehr
The makers of the vile movie ANTICHRIST chose not to apply for an MPAA rating fearing they would get an NC-17 Rating. As a result, they opened in only six theaters in the US and made a healthy $71,397 on opening weekend (anything over $5,000 per screen is a good box office). Even so, the theatrical run will be short.
The question then becomes will the movie come to your local video store?
Blockbuster’s website contains the following response to a “FAQ” (frequently asked question).
“We are retailers and not members of the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America), so we take no position on individual scenes or the overall artistic merits of a film. We are not in the content business. We are in the business of exceeding the expectations of our members and customers, and thus our goal is to offer the widest possible selection within our broad parameters of our “no NC-17 or X” standards.
“BLOCKBUSTER® has always tried to provide our customers with a variety of choices while maintaining our family orientation. As you know, we will not carry “X” rated or “NC-17″ rated films. However, there are unrated film titles we feel may contain content unsuitable for children, and we designate these titles with a “YRV” designation, for “Youth Restricted Viewing”. Although not pornographic, only members older than 17 are allowed to select these films.”
Because Blockbuster does carry unrated movies, including recut unrated versions of movies that ran in theaters with an “R” rating, the possibility exists that they may offer ANTICHRIST across America. Our campaign to encourage the MPAA to rate ANTICHRIST NC-17 would have kept the movie out of Blockbuster had it been submitted and received the NC-17 rating. Had we not taken a stand, and had it been rated R, the movie would, without a doubt, have been offered at Blockbuster.
Blockbuster has tremendous latitude with unrated movies. Many Christian movies are so small they do not apply for MPAA ratings. The fact a movie is unrated should not disqualify it from distribution. However, this means that buyers at Blockbuster must determine if an unrated movie is too nasty for their standards.
In light of this, we encourage you to send an eMail to [email protected] and request that they consider ANTICHRIST beneath their goal of “maintaining their family orientation.” It would also be helpful to write to:
James W. Keyes
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
1201 Elm St.
Dallas, TX 75270
Movies that should have been rated NC-17 like BRUNO do get distribution at Blockbuster and some R-rated movies actually put back in material that might have earned them an NC-17 rating and then send their “unrated” version to Blockbuster.
It is time to raise community standards. BRUNO, HOUNDOG, ANTICHRIST and many others should not be for rent or sale in a store that says it as a “family orientation.” Let’s be honest, the majority of movies made are not family-oriented. The typical Blockbuster store is loaded with vile comedies, gruesome horror films and, yes, pornography.
Playboy is traditionally viewed as the leading purveyor of pornography. It is point of entry for millions of young boys into the world of pornography.
Blockbuster’s website contains the following FAQs and answers:
Q: Why is BLOCKBUSTER® carrying Playboy product? Doesn’t it go against the Blockbuster brand?
A. Blockbuster Online is committed to providing one of the widest selections of movies available on one site. Playboy movies are just one of many movie niches fulfilled on BLOCKBUSTER Online®.
BLOCKBUSTER Online® and BLOCKBUSTER® do not carry movies with more than an “R” rating. The Playboy product is unrated. We do carry some unrated product with the criteria that if, in the opinion of our film buyers, the movie were rated, it would not be rated higher than “R.”
Q: Does BLOCKBUSTER Online® plan to add more adult titles?
A. We are always looking to add titles the meet our criteria for rent – that is, we do not carry any product that in our estimation, exceeds an “R” rating. Blockbuster does not carry adult or NC-17 rated movies.
Q: How do you know unrated product you carry would not exceed an “R” rating?
A. Blockbuster has been in the entertainment industry for more than 20 years and our buyers have years of experience in reviewing and analyzing movies. With this experience, and in our estimation, our unrated product would not exceed an “R” rating if rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
The bottom line is that Blockbuster buyers are under pressure to offer “the widest selection of movies.” They are prepared to serve “niches” that include those looking for pornography (not rated NC-17). At the same time, Blockbuster fears losing its reputation for being “family oriented.”
Your email to [email protected] and your letter to (get CEO Name) will help greatly in convincing buyers that ANTICHRIST is beneath their standards.
Movieguide® is still collecting signatures on the petition, www.movieguide.org/antichristpetition.