There's a bit of a stir sweeping across these internets today after the New York Times published a story that wags its uptight little finger at the studios and online outlets who promote red-band trailers and all the glorified foul-mouthedness that comes along with them. They cite the latest red-band Kick-Ass trailer as being an example of the sort of trash Hollywood is pushing to an audience that, realistically, can find a way around their so-called "age gates" faster than it takes the11-year-old Hit Girl to blast the word c*nt out in glorious HD.
While online outlets insist that they're playing by the rules set up by the MPAA by installing "age gates" in front of their trailers, it's not hard to notice that some are easier to bypass than others. And even if you can't get in, there's a good chance the trailer will show up on some social-networking site within an hour of its launch. Fact is -- and the Times is right about this -- these red-band trailers gain more momentum because of their R-rated nature, and because kids don't get to see that sort of stuff from regular green-band trailers. But sites like Film Drunk (who, admittedly, are the red-band version of a movie blog) claim bulls**t, noting (in one of their true-to-form rants), "God forbid an ad for a movie actually show you what's in the actual movie."
Personally, I think it's about time we stop pretending our teenagers are idiots who wouldn't at all be exposed to this sort of stuff if it weren't for easy-to-access red-band trailers. Watching one episode of MTV's 16 and Pregnant should make you aware that there are much bigger problems that await parents, and that hearing Tracy Morgan yell the word f*ck in a red-band Cop Out trailer should be the least of their concerns.
Lionsgate was right on the money when they told the Times that they stand behind their red-band Kick-Ass trailer because "It's really important for people to know what kind of movie this is so they can make an appropriate decision about whether or not they want to see it." Yes, good point.
That said, some would argue that the film's R rating should be enough to warn parents of the potential dangers contained within, and that while Lionsgate is pretending to be concerned about false advertising, they're also wisely attempting to entice a younger audience by dazzling them with foul language and gratuitous action prior to the film hitting theaters in order to sell them on their product.
But is this wrong? Are red-band trailers any more dangerous than the hundreds of thousands of easy-to-access non movie-related R-rated content spread across the internet? Should the studios stop producing red-band trailers? Should they continue to produce them, but figure out a more secure way to distribute them to people over the age of 17? Or should parents be forced to take a little more responsibility in what they do or do not allow their children to view online?
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