How far can a movie poster go? A risque movie poster had Slate's Explainer wondering who has the final say. Here's the answer:
Before the good people of the [MPAA's] advertising administration approve a poster, they make sure it's suitable for all viewers. Ads can't depict nudity or sexual activity, violence toward women, cruelty to animals, or rape. Other no-nos include sacrilege, cadavers, people or animals on fire, blood, offensive gestures, and references to drugs.
Filmmakers can always opt out of the whole shebang with the "not rated" option. But this last rule was a shocker for me:
It's also not OK to capitalize on the film's MPAA rating—i.e., "R has never gone this far," or "Banned in Boston."
If reason ever winds up "Banned in Boston"–something I'd have a particular interest in, since I'm the magazine's "Boston bureau"– we'd have good company. Previous Boston decency scofflaws include H.L. Mencken, who was arrested in 1926 for selling verboten copies of his magazine, The American Mercury. According to the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities:
A fierce defender of free speech, Mencken had traveled to Boston with the express intention of getting himself arrested. The minute he sold a copy of the magazine, the vice squad took him into custody. Not everyone in Boston agreed with the Watch and Ward Society, and the next day a judge ruled in Mencken's favor. He was acquitted on all charges. The victory was short-lived, however. Boston continued to lead the nation in the banning of books for another 30 years.