Rabid rabbit loathing on the small British isle of Portland gave DreamWorks’ “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” timely buzz as it hopped up to its Oct. 14 release on home turf.
In Portland, even uttering the word “rabbit” is considered awfully bad luck due to landslides the critters’ incessant burrowing caused when limestone quarrying was the island’s chief industry. To this day, Portlanders refer to rabbits as “underground mutton” or “furry things.”
So when a poster for “Were-Rabbit” was erected on Portland it didn’t take long for a disgruntled islander to tape over the offending “R-word.”
U.K. press lept on the rabbit story, erroneously reporting that distributor UIP created a “non-rabbit” poster with the headline “something bunny is going on” so as not to offend Portland residents.
But the truth is less exciting. “To be honest, I had no idea Portland residents object to the word “rabbit” until I started getting calls from the press,” Deborah Sheppard, UIP’s U.K. marketing director told Variety. “We have one U.K. campaign with five different executions. The “bunny” headline appears on 25% of the posters and was certainly not prepared especially for Portland.”
Although there is no cinema on Portland, “Were-Rabbit” burst out of the hutch in a nearby cinema in mainland Weymouth last week.