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Weinstein Co. protests ABC rejection of movie commercial

August 25, 2011 | 12:35 pm

The Weinstein Co. is blowing some smoke ... at ABC.

On Thursday, the independent film studio decried how the ABC television network has been refusing to air a commercial for its upcoming ensemble comedy "Our Idiot Brother," about a family dealing with an irresponsible stoner, played by Paul Rudd.  The Weinstein Co. said the Walt Disney Co.-owned network had refused to run the ad unless the studio cut material that the network found objectionable.

IdiotBrother The commercial in question includes drug references and a bit in which the Rudd character pretends to pee on a trampoline. In the commercial's final scene, the Rudd character twice tells his parole officer he had gotten high with a neighbor kid.

The Weinstein Co. said ABC issued the following demands:

"Please Remove the Visual of the Exchange of What is Assumed to be Drugs.  Please Remove the Visual of the Character Using the Juice Box to Depict Urination.  Please Remove the References to Getting High and Smoking."

The Weinstein Co.'s principals, Harvey and Bob Weinstein, famously divorced from Disney in 2005 after a productive 12-year run. It is not unusual for companies to submit advertisements they know will be "banned" as a way to generate publicity. And the Weinstein brothers are nearly as famous in Hollywood for getting outsized attention for their movies as the movies themselves. 

The New York-based company issued a news release to gleefully protest its treatment by ABC and provided a link to YouTube to see the rejected commercial. The movie opens Friday.

"The ad is already airing in its current form on other broadcast and cable networks," the Weinstein Co. said in its statement.

ABC said it has "approved and accepted multiple spots for 'Our Idiot Brother,' and has aired spots for this film," but that it would not air commercials that "violated our long-established Ad Guidelines."

-- Meg James

Photo: A scene from "Our Idiot Brother," with Paul Rudd and Elizabeth Banks. Credit: Nicole Rivelli / The Weinstein Co.