Film planned for summer launch

The MPAA has upheld its NC-17 rating for William Friedkin’s crime drama “Killer Joe,” two weeks after LD Entertainment appealed the ruling.

The Classification and Rating Appeals Board ruled that “Joe” isn’t fit for children younger than 17 because of “graphic aberrant content involving violence and sexuality, and a scene of brutality.”

David Dinerstein, president of LD Entertainment, issued a statement Tuesday following the ruling.

“We are disappointed as we do not feel this film warrants an NC-17 and that is why we appealed it,” Dinerstein said. “Our director, William Friedkin, is currently in Vienna and we are determining our next steps.”

“Joe” had its U.S. premiere on Saturday night in Austin at a screening befor about 1,200 at SXSW. LD acquired U.S. rights in September at the Toronto Film Festival, a week after “Joe” had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival.

Pic, starring Matthew McConaughey and Emile Hirsch, has been planned for a domestic launch this summer.

Supporting cast includes Thomas Haden Church, Gina Gershon and Juno Temple. The screenplay was written by Tracy Letts, on whose play the film is based.

Producers are Voltage topper Nicolas Chartier and Scott Einbinder of ANA Media Inc. Voltage Pictures, Christopher Woodrow’s Worldview Entertainment, and Picture Perfect Corp. financed.

Hirsch portrays a 22-year-old drug dealer who has his stash stolen by his mother and has to come up with $6,000 quick or he’s dead. Desperate, he turns to “Killer Joe” (McConaughey) when he finds out that his mother’s life insurance policy is worth $50,000.

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