‘Shoot ‘Em Up’ ads banned in U.K.

ASA rules against gun images

LONDON — Ads for “Shoot ‘Em Up,” featuring Paul Giamatti and Clive Owen toting guns, have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Two ads that were part of Entertainment Film Distributors campaign to promote the Sept. 14 theatrical release of the high-octane actioner cannot be shown again.

Ruling comes amid growing public concern over rising gun crime in the U.K.

First ad banned showed Giamatti nonchalantly pointing a gun whilst holding a cell phone to his ear with the text “just another family man making a living.”

Second ad outlawed showed Owen leaping in the air with a pistol in both hand and Giamatti in the background holding a sniper rifle.

Advertising watchdog ASA upheld 55 complaints from the public that the ads glamorized and glorified gun crime. Many complainants believed that the posters were offensive and insensitive toward families directly affected by gun crime, in particular the family of Rhys Jones, the 11-year-old who was killed in a shooting incident in Liverpool in August.

Entertainment responded to the complaints by saying that their contractors were in close contact with local councils around the country and this usually provided a safe guideline on whether a creative treatment was acceptable at the time of booking advertising space. Entertainment added that the weapons in the image of Clive Owen holding two guns had been specifically designed to be angled away from the viewer and the poster had been approved by the Advertising Viewing Committee of the Film Distribution Association, the body which approves promotional material for all 18 certificate films.

Pic wound up cuming a modest $1.9 million at theaters. It is released on homevid on Jan. 21. No one was available from Entertainment to comment on the DVD launch, which is still promoted on online stores such as amazon.co.uk with the leaping Owen poster.

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