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Reports are coming in, indicating that theaters are starting to pull the new trailer for Paranormal Activity 2 because it’s “too scary”. It’s happening in Texas where Cinemark execs called Paramount to tell them they’ve been getting complaints and can no longer show it in front of Twilight as originally planned. Deadline first reported the story and they seem somewhat baffled by the whole thing, after all it doesn’t really show anything particularly gruesome, so let me explain what’s going on.
The problem isn’t the trailer, it’s the movie they’ve decided to show it in front of. If you’re over the age of 12, this may be the least scary horror movie trailer you’ve ever seen. But, for better or worse, a lot of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse’s audience is not over twelve. Sure the Twilight movie is PG-13 but the truth is that a lot of parents are taking their daughters to see it. My screening of Eclipse was packed to the rafters with mothers and their young daughters, and most of those daughters were under twelve.
Sitting next to me during Eclipse was a mother with her very cute, very polite daughter of around age ten or so. Before the movie started they talked happily, and excitedly about the movie. I watched their seats for them while they went, hand in hand, to get popcorn. The lights went down and the little girl squealed with excitement and hugged her mom. Then the trailer for Paranormal Activity 2 started. Within mere moments, that happy little girl was reduced to horrible, uncontrollable, sobs of terror. Throughout the trailer she kept crying to her mom “make it stop, make it stop” while her mom hugged her close and tried desperately to cover her eyes telling her “it’s ok, it’s ok, it’s just a commercial it’s not the Twilight movie. It’ll be over in a second, just don’t look.” The little girl kept sobbing.
It took five minutes or so of Twilight before she settled down again, but for that mother and daughter, and a lot of the others in the screening with me the movie had already been utterly ruined. Never has any trailer been more wholly inappropriate for an audience.
I’m sure the people behind it looked at Twilight’s rating and assumed the audience would be old enough to handle that trailer, and if Eclipse’s audience was actually over thirteen as the MPAA’s rating suggests, they’d be right. But it isn’t and they weren’t. The trailer should be pulled, nationwide, and fast. Attach it to something else.
Here’s the trailer in question: