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Drama by Design

November 23, 2010

In the world of PR, Hollywood publicity ranks pretty low in terms of credibility or truth so I’m never surprised when I read stories about celebrities or movie studios pulling some kind of stunt for a little camera time. What has never occurred to me, however, is the idea that a studio and director would attempt to garner a NC-17 rating from the MPAA, just to get some extra publicity.
Apparently, getting a NC-17 rating is normally like wearing a giant scarlet A on your chest – not exactly the best way to make friends, or in the case of a movie, make money. The catch is that if a little indie film that no one has heard of is hit with the rating, it generates an enormous amount of buzz, which in turn elevates the movie’s appeal.
Such is the case with “Blue Valentine,” a film produced by The Weinstein Company. Critics seems to be confused as to why the movie received the unwelcome rating, but the answer seems obvious – especially when you take into account that this isn’t the first time The Weinstein Company has had this happen to one of their films. This is actually the second time such “bad luck” has befallen the production company and if the first time is any indication, the studio will be laughing all the way to the bank. It seems that by being slapped with the rating, then protesting it until the rating is dropped to R is an ingenious way to push the small film more into the mainstream.
I’m on the fence with this one. Half of me feels that this little scheme is brilliant. People love a good scandal; especially if it means they may get to see a couple of sexy Hollywood stars get hot and heavy on screen. I think it’s very creative of the studio to find a way to get some extra press this way and there’s no question that it’s PR because they did it for FREE.
The other half of me is a little disappointed that the studio is relying on sex and controversy to get some publicity, rather than the fact that the film stars two Academy Award nominees (Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams) and was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival. Why not count on that winning combination to sell tickets to the film?
The answer is obvious – sex sells. It may be a sad statement about our culture but it’s a fact. I guess at the end of the day, I can’t fault the studio for capitalizing on what really is our own weakness. That said, I refuse to believe that the man after whom our school is named would ever partake in such a questionable form of public relations (wink, wink)!
The truth is, I will probably see this film and I will say that it’s because I love the lead actors, but is it really because I ready the story about the rating and now I have to see what all the hype is about? I guess we’ll never know…

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 25, 2010 9:18 am

    I saw this movie the other day and loved it. The two performances are truly wonderful and they deserve an Oscar!!
    I really don’t udenrstand the rating though…

    My review:

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