Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Inappropriate Trailer Shown Before ‘Twilight’

posted by Nell Minow

Critics usually do not see trailers in our special screenings, so many thanks to the commenters who brought this problem to my attention. Some “Twilight” fans are seeing the disturbing trailer for “The Unborn” before the movie.
The choice of trailers is made by individual theater owners and managers. In general, they usually try to make sure the movie they are advertising will appeal to the same audience. It is unthinkable to me that anyone who knows what “Twilight” is about — a tender love story and the triumph of better angels over base desires — would want to show that audience a trailer for a film about a demonic spirit.
Parents should check with the theater manager to make sure this trailer will not be shown when they decide where their teenagers will be seeing “Twilight.” And I also recommend a protest to the authorities:
National Association of Theatre Owners
750 First Street, NE
Suite 1130
Washington, DC 20002
Tel. 202.962-0054
Fax: 202.962-0370
Office of the Chairman and CEO
Washington, DC
1600 Eye St., NW
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 293-1966 (main)
(202) 296-7410 (fax)

  • Nell Minow

    Comment removed for violation of the rules of this site, which prohibit insults and name-calling. If you would care to make your point in a courteous manner, please try again.

  • jestrfyl

    I am unlikely to go see “Twilight”. However, I am often curious about how the trailers before movies (something I truly enjoy seeing) are chosen. I thought it was a corporate decision – I am interested to know it is the theater managers who make the choices. I expect in this case, the manager took no time to actually watch what the trailer was – thinking it only another of the monster/horror genre. This shows once more how lazy choices can be poor indeed. I would love the job of pairing trailers with movies! I will watch these with greater interest now, knowing they are a reflection of the theater where I am spending my money. We have several choices of theaters, so this will effect my decisions.
    As to the person who post was removed. Shame on you. Resorting to name calling and bad language is just one more piece of evidence against laziness in public discourse. Either learn to curse creatively or just lay out of the game. Go back and read some Twain or Shakespeare to learn how. My wife was given a card she kept on her desk that said “Diplomacy is the art of telling a person to go to H—, and having them look forward to the trip”. Learn to be diplomatic!

  • Britt

    The Unborn looks awesome. Everyone loved the preview in the theater I was at…

  • Nell Minow

    Glad to hear it, Britt! But not everyone who goes to “Twilight” is a fan of horror and I believe the theater owners should be more careful.

  • Dustin Putman

    Hi Nell. Is the trailer for “The Unborn” an “all audiences” trailer approved by the MPAA, or a red band. If it is red band, I can see your point, but otherwise I think it is perfectly acceptable to advertise a supernatural horror movie before a PG-13 film involving blood-sucking vampires. It may be first and foremost a romance, but “Twilight” is still a genre movie.

  • Nell Minow

    Good to hear from you, Dustin! Red band trailers are seldom shown in theaters and are only permitted before R-rated films. But as you well know, the MPAA’s ruling on what is “appropriate for general audiences” is not always on target and by definition if a number of people are disturbed by the trailer they are targeting the wrong group.

  • Dustin

    That’s true, Nell. I can see what you mean. On the positive, if the trailer is that disturbing, there’s hope that we’ll finally be getting a genuinely scary movie soon. Those are few and far between these days.

  • eGaTS

    I found this site by querying Google for “trailers seen before twilight”. I had seen the trailer you are referring to, and liked it so much but forgot the title of the movie. I am pleased to have found a reference to it, but surprised that you are making such a fuss about it. A trailer is just a preview for a movie. You can choose whether you want to go and see it when it comes out. Many people went to see Twilight simply based on its own trailer, which concentrates on the high action scenes and that this is a vampire movie. I did not read the books. I simply went to see a movie about vampires. The Unborn trailer appealed to me, as it did to the rest of the group I went with. If they had not shown it I would never have known about it and most likely missed out on seeing it. If your 13-year old kid is scared of a two minute trailer then he can shut his eyes or something. But you know, that is kinda the point. It’s supposed to be scary…

  • cyndy

    Wow – I am surprised so many are ok with this trailer. I went to Twilight with my 13 daughter. I was disturbed, and sure wished I hadn’t seen the trailer. Actually I shut my eyes and covered my ears until it was over. I NEVER watch that kind of stuff. I didn’t expect a horror trailer, since this was a teen love story. (Read the books) I kept waiting for the trailer to turn into a comedy or something, but finally realized it wasn’t getting better – only worse! That’s when I closed my eyes and covered my ears. I will be sending a complaint to the Theater chain, totally inappropriate trailer!

  • Ray

    That trailer was the best part about the movie… I went to this movie based on its trailer and completely felt excited to see a trailer like this before it based on the assumption that if the trailer before the movie was this good, then the movie was bound to be scary. Very disappointed in the movie and I can see the point of the trailer being a bit out of band for what the movie actually was, but not for what it was billed as which was a Action, Drama, Suspense, HORROR movie. So theaters not familiar with this emmo teen angst-fest would incorrectly assume that it was categorized correctly (as would some of us unfortunate patrons) and advertise “The Unborn” prior to it. I can tell you I am glad I saw the trailer, it was the only jolt I got for the $30 I spent on that movie. The guys behind me slept through most of it.

  • Sam

    If you think that the Twilight series is about that, you haven’t read the books. These books are violent, graphic, and often slightly smutty. The movie is rated PG-13 and the trailer is rated to be appropriate for the people in that theater to watch.

  • Nell Minow

    “Twlight” is a love story with a vampire. “The Unborn” is a horror movie. The PG-13 rating is inconsistent and often misleading.

  • Paul

    As a movie theater owner, I can add a little bit of data to this discussion. I saw Twilight with my daughter in another cinema, and was offended by the Unborn trailer. Several kids in the audience spontaneously screamed at the sight of the dog, — and they weren’t screaming in fun.
    However, it’s the movie studio which is responsible for the placement of this trailer. Many trailers arrive at the theater individually and theater managers can add them to the front of the feature print. However, on every movie print there are usually 2-3 trailers that are physically part of the feature, assembled by the studio, and which theaters are contractually obligated to show as part of the presentation license. If you’re watching a movie, the final few trailers are the studio’s responsibility, and this is where The Unborn played. So if you have a complaint, direct it to Summit Entertainment.
    Our movie theater did not end up showing Twilight, but when we thought we might, I asked our manager to remove the trailer for The Unborn because it was so inappropriate for the Twilight audience, even if it put us in violation of the distribution contract. It seemed like a worthwhile battle to fight – but we never got the Twilight print, so it was a moot point.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks so much, Paul! This is really helpful. People who want to contact Summit Entertainment to complain can do so here:
    Rob Friedman
    Summit Entertainment
    1630 Stewart St.
    Ste. 120
    Santa Monica, CA 90404
    Phn: 310-309-8400
    Fax: 310-828-4132

  • Your Name

    This is an issue that has bugged me and I haven’t known how to properly address. I am very particular about the movies I take my children to see. I don’t ban everything, but research the movie to determine if appropriate based on more than just the MPAA rating. However, I can’t control the trailers. I can understand the trailers for horror and other scary movies being shown before movies such as Iron Man and X-men, so we usually arrive a little late to miss those. I was appalled however when taking my kids to see “National Treasure 2″ last Christmas – and a trailer for “In Bruges”, an R-rated movie, was shown! The trailers claim they are appropriate for all audiences – but my kids were very disturbed at seeing a priest shot in the confessional in the trailer! Not at all appropriate for showing before a PG rated family movie.

  • Nell Minow

    I can’t imagine anyone would think “In Bruge” was a good choice to promo at a showing of “National Treasure.” I share your concern about this issue and I hope you will let the theater manager and the MPAA know about your experience. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and please continue to keep us informed about your experiences.

  • Melissa

    Thank you for posting this information. I am only seeing it well after the fact, but when I took my 13-yr old daughter and friends to see “Twilight”, we were all surprised by “The Unborn” trailer and thought it was not appropriate.
    I never knew that selecting trailers was at the theater’s discretion. I will remember that in the future and feel like I can have input next time.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks, Melissa!

  • tomi

    So what i am reading is you have no problem letting your kids see a vampire/werewolf movie, but heaven forbid they should see this trailer. lol
    get your priorities straight.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks, Tomi — what I was saying is that I found the trailer for “The Unborn” far more disturbing than the material in “Twilight,” a movie based on a book that is hugely popular with young teens. How do those priorities not seem straight to you?

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