'The Hangover Part II' trailer controversy -- monkey joke too much for moviegoers? [Updated]
"The Hangover Part II" trailer, which premiered online last week, didn't seem too shocking, but evidently it gave at least a few people pause. Distributor Warner Bros. has requested that movie theaters yank the spot, which had been playing in front of the sci-fi thriller "Source Code," and destroy it.
The MPAA approves trailers before they are placed in front of particular movies. In this case, the trailer for the "Hangover" follow-up -- which, among other scenes, includes a visual gag involving a water bottle and a monkey performing a simulated sex act -- was approved to run only ahead of R-rated movies. It shouldn't have run before "Source Code," which is rated PG-13, according to a person familiar with the situation who was not authorized to speak about it publicly.
There were no known complaints from "Source Code" theatergoers about the trailer.
According to a document received by the blog /Film, a new trailer will appear in front of the R-rated horror film "Scream 4" when that movie opens April 15. While studios routinely release multiple trailers, it's unclear whether Warner Bros. planned to release a new trailer for the "Hangover" sequel so quickly or whether the "Source Code" incident prompted that decision.
The MPAA declined to comment, and a Warner Bros. spokesman did not immediately provide a comment. [Update, 12:37 p.m.: Warner Bros. has issued a statement, saying, "In our haste to meet the placement schedule for this trailer, we failed to properly vet the final version with the MPAA. We acted immediately to correct the mistake and removed the trailer from screens." The trailer preceding "Scream," meanwhile, will be a version of the original trailer instead of a new piece of material.] The Todd Phillips-directed comedy opens May 26.
For the record, 12:50 p.m.: An earlier version of this post referred to a moment in a film trailer involving monkey genitalia; in fact, the trailer makes a joke about a monkey performing a simulated sex act.
-- Steven Zeitchik
Photo: "The Hangover: Part II." Credit: Warner Bros.