CATEGORIES Drama, Independent, Romance, Lionsgate Films, Celebrities and Controversy, Movie Marketing, Movie News, CinematicalAfter Dark Films clearly has a marketing team that knows what it's doing. The company's movies are causing controversy and sparking conversation well before release. First came the graphic billboards for the upcoming Elisha Cuthbert thriller Captivity that caused an uproar and were taken down last week. And now even more scandal is stemming from the marketing campaign for Sundance hit Wristcutters: A Love Story -- read Karina's review here. We told you a few weeks back about the campaign in question, and reading about it, I get the feeling that controversy is exactly what they had in mind. The campaign was set to unspool in July in preparation for an August release, and was reported to include cardboard cut-outs depicting various ways to kill yourself. Courtney Solomon, After Dark's co-owner, said of the signs: "We just hope they don't cause too many accidents."
Fifteen suicide prevention groups, including the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Mental Health America and the Suicide Prevention Action Network USA are outraged, and determined to put a stop to the campaign. Solomon says he has been "too busy" to reply to the groups because he's been busy re-shooting and adding violence to Captivity, in order to make it appeal to the gore-hungry audiences of today. He says Wristcutters and its promotion is certainly anti-suicide, but does concede that the marketing strategy may have to be altered, and that After Dark will offer screeners to, and welcome input from, the protesting groups.
Those raising the complaints have not seen the film and are not objecting to the movie itself, but they are concerned about the possible effect such an advertising campaign could have on the public. The letter from the AFSP to Solomon and After Dark states: "(We) know from more than 30 years of scientific research that media portrayals of suicide can be inadvertently harmful to vulnerable individuals, leading to what behavioral scientists call suicide contagion or 'copycat suicide.' Recent research confirms that young people in particular are vulnerable to this effect and can tragically act on depictions of suicide." Wristcutters follows a group of people who have taken their own lives and journey through purgatory. It stars Patrick Fugit and Shannyn Sossamon, and was directed by Goran Dukic. The film is set for a limited release on August 31st.