It was a big deal when AMC Theaters confirmed in mid-September that they would in fact be showing Hatchet II in more than 60 of their theaters, despite the fact that the movie hadn't been given a rating by the MPAA. It's a major step for any theater chain, most of which want to play nice with the MPAA and also avoid hearing from outraged parents whose kids caught something as brutal and horrifying as Hatchet II on a Saturday trip to the multiplex. In fact, it was apparently such a major step that someone at AMC balked, and Hatchet II has been pulled after just one weekend in release.
Talking to Entertainment Weekly, the film's director Adam Green confirmed that the movie has been pulled, saying “We woke up this morning and the movie was gone. I’m bewildered and confused.” Green has previously been a vocal opponent against the "evil" MPAA, and argued that his movie didn't even deserve to be released without a rating, even though Eric wrote in his review that the fill "doesn't know the definition of the words 'decency' or 'restraint." Here's how Green sees it:
"This is not a movie that deserves to be unrated. It’s a very funny, silly slasher movie about a swamp ghost that’s killing people in ridiculous ways. And now it’s become, you know, ‘Banned from cinemas.’ I’ve lost 11 pounds in the last week from stress.”
Green recognizes that, now that AMC has backed out, it's unlikely that Hatchet II will have much more of a life on the big screen, having grossed less than $70,000 in its first weekend of release. But given that Hatchet did most of its business on DVD, Green is optimistic that the sequel will make it to anxious fans before too long:
“I know that [Hatchet 2 distribution company] Dark Skies, in light of it being pulled prematurely, is going to do everything they can to get it to the fans as fast as they can. And that’s exciting. I don’t really make hardcore movies. I’m doing a kids movie next! Hopefully, this is the last time I’m ever even going to deal with something like this.”
At Cinema Blend we're generally fans of people sticking it to the MPAA and pushing boundaries, so it's a bummer to see Hatchet II's theatrical run end so quickly. But maybe this is an early step in the right direction, and next time the folks at AMC or any other major theater chain will be willing to take another gamble on something maybe a little less shocking (or, let's face it, a little more financially successful). Best of luck to Green in getting his film out there and fighting the good fight against the MPAA, and remember kids-- just because Hatchet II is now unavailable, it doesn't mean it's OK to download it. Adam Green will personally have a nervous breakdown if it happens again.