Saw 2 Poster Cut
The Motion Picture Association of America has given a thumbs down to the poster for the upcoming slice-and-dice horror sequel Saw II featuring severed fingers as the Roman numerals.
The film's distributor had already sent out an advance poster, or one-sheet, with the graphic image to online media.
But now the MPAA, a trade group whose decency guidelines not only result in movie ratings but also apply to promotion materials, says the posters and other promotional material with the severed fingers are "unacceptable."
In a statement, the organization said it had not cleared the image and had asked the distributor to recall the artwork.
Marilyn Gordon, director of the MPAA's Advertising Administration, said if her department had been able to review the one-sheets before they were disseminated, it would have deemed the "materials for the film Saw II [that] display dismembered fingers is unacceptable."
If that wasn't bad enough, the MPAA says that some Websites were selling the unauthorized poster and others had begun running an unapproved theatrical trailer. The trailer was accompanied by an R rating, but it had not been vetted by the MPAA's Classification and Rating Administration, or CARA.
"It is essential that film distributors comply with the rules of the Advertising Administration so that parents retain the confidence they have in the ratings certified by CARA and that advertising and publicity material associated with rated films is appropriate for all audiences," says Gordon.
While reps for Lions Gate declined to comment, Gordon says the company has begun to comply with the MPAA's request and contacted Websites asking them to take down the images in question.
"We thank Lions Gate for its actions taken to correct the issues for the advertising for Saw II," Gordon added.
However, as of Tuesday morning, the official movie site, www.saw2.com, still displayed the severed fingers, along with the tag line: "Oh yes, there will be blood." And EBay had more than a dozen auctions featuring Saw II posters and even T-shirts with the offending digits.
The sequel was green-lighted just days after Saw opened last year and became a surprise hit. The film, directed by James Wan and starring Cary Elwes, Danny Glover, Leigh Wannell and Monica Potter, is an indie thriller about a sadistic serial killer known as Jigsaw and cost just $1.2 million while raking in more $100 million worldwide.
Saw II picks up with a new detective trying to track down Jigsaw. The sequel stars former New Kid on the Block Donnie Wahlberg, along with Tobin Bell and Shawnee Smith. It hits theaters on Oct. 28, just in time for Halloween.
Meanwhile, in related news, Elwes sued the producers of Saw last week, accusing them of screwing him out of a slice of the movie's back-end profits. The British actor seeks a percentage of grosses "equal to the highest-paid actor" on the production, as well as $500,000 in damages.