The girls have been waiting to see Disney/Pixar's Brave for months - we saw a preview for it at Claire's birthday party in March, and they have been talking about it ever since.
We decided to take the kids to see it at the drive-in movie theater north of here as a special treat. Because we're on the western edge of the Eastern time zone, the movie didn't even start until 9:30 pm. I don't know if you have a drive-in where you live, but it's customary for them to show two films. We decided not to stay for the second one because the girls were already exhausted. I took them to the bathrooms, knowing that they'd fall asleep on the way home and have to be carried inside, and waited for them outside.
I looked at the screen and saw this:
"Appropriate audiences?" I thought. "Doesn't it usually say, 'all audiences'? Uh oh..." And then I saw this:
(BIG WARNING - this is NOT APPROPRIATE FOR CHILDREN!)
It actually occurred to me after the first pole-dancing shot to go stand in front of the projector so that the audience of small children wouldn't be exposed to this, but I knew that if I left my post outside the bathroom, my kids would come out and be scared when they couldn't find me. And, as predicted, my girls came out of the bathroom in the middle of the preview. I hugged them to me and covered their eyes until it was over, which of course made them more curious about what they were missing on the screen.
After it concluded, I took them back to BJ, who was as outraged as I was. Then I marched back to the concession stand and demanded to speak to a manager.
"What's the big idea showing a preview full of STRIPPERS in between two KIDS' MOVIES?" I demanded.
"It's rated PG-13!" he said, rudely.
"I don't CARE what it's rated - you have a bunch of 5 and 6 year olds out there, and the splash screen before the trailer clearly said 'this preview is approved for APPROPRIATE audiences.' This is NOT an appropriate audience!"
"You're going to have to take it up with Hollywood. We don't get to decide what we show." He said, as he was walking away from me. (Nice customer service.) A second guy behind the counter chose to insert himself into the conversation at this point, and he yelled the same crap about "it wasn't our decision," at me. He was every bit as rude about it, too.
So on the way home I looked, and I found that independent theaters COMPLETELY have the power to decide what previews they do and do not show before movies.
The trailer placement system at independent theaters is much simpler: They only show trailers for movies that will soon be playing on one of their screens. For these exhibitors, the calendar is the only factor at play—and sometimes, their coming attractions don't even have trailers, which simplifies things even further.Liar, liar, pants on fire.
The irony in all of this is that the drive-in audience was admonished on the FM channel that broadcasts the audio for the film several times to remember to pick up our trash because the drive-in hosts CHURCH SERVICES on Sunday morning.
Real pious, Lake Shore Drive-In in Monticello, Indiana, showing strippers and sex scenes to a bunch of little kids. I'm sure God approves.