Distrib axes plans to use Hitler watercolor as promo tie-in

TOKYO — Toshiba Entertainment, Japan’s newest independent distributor, has canned plans to display a watercolor painting by Adolf Hitler as part of its promotion for “Max,” the Menno Meyjes-helmed pic that explores the relationship between an art dealer and the young Hitler.

The John Cusack-Noah Taylor starrer was released by Lions Gate in the U.S. and other territories in 2002 and generated some controversy for its attempt to humanize the young Hitler.

Pic opened Saturday in Japan and Toshiba Entertainment planned to exhibit the undated painting of Vienna’s Karlskirche at a cinema in Tokyo.

But Hitler’s paintings are taboo in international art circles, and a storm erupted in the Japanese and other international media when Toshiba Entertainment’s plans became known.

“Originally, it was meant to give the audience a chance to see an original by the artist the film deals with,” said Toshiba marketing manager Yasuhisa Indo. “After the media started to concentrate on the picture and seemed to ignore the film, we decided against the display.

“With this upsurge in publicity, we couldn’t guarantee security anymore, neither for the painting nor for the public,” Indo said.

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