For a brief moment this past weekend, the impossible happened - the unrated Hatchet 2 opened in over 60 theaters and became
a cause for celebration among horror film fans, who viewed the release as a possible way to break the seemingly arbitrary MPAA chokehold that they see as part of the decline of the horror genre.
Hatchet 2 is one of the few times in the last twenty-five years that an unrated film has gotten any sort of theatrical release and the horror launched a Twitter and Facebook campaign to support it.
Leading horror website DreadCentral.com had even asked fans to buy tickets for Hatchet 2 online even if they aren't near a theater showing it as a way to send a message to Hollywood that there's a market for unrated horror.
That dream barely made it through the weekend; the theater chains that were carrying Hatchet 2 pulled it without explanation by Monday morning. It's tough to really know the specific box office numbers since several theaters - in Canada,
specifically -- wound up pulling the film right away due to fear of being fined for showing an unrated film, says Green. We're hearing that others decided to only show Hatchet 2 at specific times due to the hassle of having to have
someone guard the cinema door to check IDs. When I saw the film in Los Angeles there was a guard at the door for the entire movie checking ticket stubs and IDs where necessary. It was kind of crazy.
Update: Poor Box Office
8th October 2010. See article
Adam Green and his marketers pinned their hopes for that miracle on AMC, and an ad campaign that specifically tied Hatchet II 's lack of a rating (I saw posters for the film at Fantastic Fest that even used the tagline Support Unrated
Horror ). If nothing else, Hatchet II 's $52,000 weekend gross proves that turning a gory, tongue-in-cheek slasher movie into a referendum on free speech isn't a shortcut to box office gold. Those uncut and unrated slogans are on
DVDs because people want to see extreme blood and guts, not because they're looking to strike a blow against organized censorship. They're horror fans, not freedom fighters.
Offsite: Adam Green Speaks
9th October 2010. See article
by Adam Green
The sad truth of the matter is that no one at [distributor] Dark Sky has been able to tell me the exact reasons behind why the film was pulled (they have not gotten a clear explanation whatsoever) and I only know what I am
hearing from the public on Twitter and AMC's response to the press of we base our decisions on performance which does not add up given that we know of at least two theaters that had pulled the film after just 24 hours and given the grand
scheme of things, other genre titles performed worse per screen, even though they had bigger budgets and traditional spends on marketing campaigns as opposed to ours.
All signs would point to AMC being unhappy with how vocal I was about the MPAA and not wanting to deal with the controversy — which if the case, is their given right. Had the film grossed millions, maybe it would be a
different story with them, but given the size of our release and the nature of what this is, all we ever could have hoped for was a few grand per screen in a realistic scenario.
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Offsite: Adam Green Speaks About Hatchet III
3rd October 2011. See article
When Hatchet II came out, they [the MPAA] were under fire because of the torture-porn that was getting through. But the reason that torture-porn was getting through was because it was being distributed by a studio that pays their salaries, so they
couldn't stop it. So there is all this backlash from parents, and I come along with a swamp monster with a gas-powered belt sander, killing comedians like Monty Python, and they came down on me!
But they fucked with the wrong guy because I beat them. I got my film into theatres unrated - which hasn't happened in 30 years - for 48 hours. Then I became the first movie to ever get pulled from theatres. There was all this bullshit that it
wasn't performing but in fact it did so great that, within 72 hours of the DVD release, a third one got greenlit. So the MPAA can eat a fucking dick. Hatchet III is coming, so I win, they lose.
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