Lars Von Trier’s latest film The House That Jack Built has already caused a lot of controversy. Earlier this year over 100 people walked out during its screening at Cannes because of “extreme violence”. Last night though, theaters across the United States showed the film in a one night only unrated, directors cut. I was one of the attendees and let’s just say the theater was so packed people were stealing seats. Everyone was very excited for the latest look into his psyche. It looks like the MPAA though, were not as excited as everyone else was.
The MPAA has released the following statement:
The MPAA has communicated to the distributor, IFC Films, that the screening of an unrated version of the film in such close proximity to the release of the rated version — without obtaining a waiver — is in violation of the rating system’s rules. The effectiveness of the MPAA ratings depends on our ability to maintain the trust and confidence of American parents. That’s why the rules clearly outline the proper use of the ratings. Failure to comply with the rules can create confusion among parents and undermine the rating system — and may result in the imposition of sanctions against the film’s submitter.
Since IFC did not obtain the waiver needed to show the unrated version, this close to the official release date, there will be a hearing against to discuss sanctions against the distributor. Sanctions could include officially revoking the R rating, suspending all films in the process of rating, or a 90 day suspension from the rating system entirely. Party Poopers.
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Officially, The House That Jack Built is rated R for “strong disturbing violence/ sadistic behavior, grisly images, language, and nudity”. Now if any “American parents” were confused on the content of the film, then they obviously missed the trailer. It gives a strong impression that the film is about a serial killer torturing and murdering kids and women. Also, it’s a decision between an R rated film and an unrated cut of a “violent and disturbing” movie. I doubt many parents are worried they’re taking the tikes to either of these screenings!
IFC reported to the Hollywood Reporter that the Thursday screenings played in 140 theaters and grossed $172,131. Not bad for one night. But was it worth the trouble? Hopefully The House That Jack Built will be still released on December 14th in theaters and VOD.
If you are a fan of Von Trier, I suggest seeing it but what do you believe should happen to IFC? Already planning on seeing The House That Jack Built? Let us know on Twitter, Reddit, and in the Horror Movie Fiend Club on Facebook!