The Times today introduces the world to Marilyn Gordon, the MPAA’s “advertisting enforcer.” Along with a team of six, Gordon signs off on all advertising material for all rated movies; last year, that meant more than 60,000 pieces of promo, from trailers to press kits to radio commercials. So why are we just finding out about her now? Because, in response to increased criticism from watchdog groups that movie ads have gotten way too graphic, Gordon wants to let the world in on her crew’s fastidious, careful process.
So what’d we learn? Well, here are the things that will never, ever show up on a movie poster: “dismemberments,” “children in peril,” “cruelty to animals,” “offensive gestures,” “drugs or tobacco products,” “people or animals on fire” (unless they’re comic book characters), plus so many others the Times couldn’t list them all. The rest of the time, though, Gordon’s just kind of making judgment calls. Like, for example, “a planned poster for a recent Jennifer Aniston comedy … rejected because it depicted a man groping her.” They mean The Bounty Hunter, right? (A look at Aniston’s imdb.com page suggests it as the only legitimate option, although it would be awesome if the original poster for Love Happens featured Aaron Eckhart doing some groping.) Also, that opens up some more questions: What was the nature of the groping in question? Was it perhaps a lack of groping in the ad campaign that doomed the movie to a disappointing box-office take? And why can’t Jennifer Aniston be groped on a movie poster?