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Artisan to appeal ‘Requiem’s’ NC-17 rating

Distrib takes on MPAA over Aronofsky pic

NEW YORK — Stanley Kubrick lost the ratings battle with the MPAA over his “Eyes Wide Shut.” But will Darren Aronofsky?

Not if Artisan Entertainment can help it. Artisan, the distributors of Aronofsky’s second feature, “Requiem for a Dream,” is appealing the MPAA decision that slapped the film with an NC-17 rating on Aug. 9.

The ratings board, whose decision was based on “some explicit sexual images” in the film, most likely objected to a scene toward the end of the film depicting a couple engaged in sex, surrounded by leering, well-dressed men.

But Artisan CEO Amir Malin said that sexual imagery in the film “is not gratuitous and far from prominent and the context of sex is used only in support of the story and the situations in which the film’s characters find themselves.”

“We intend to stand by director Darren Aronofsky’s cut of the film and will not change a single frame of this important work,” Malin said.

Artisan, which is seeking an R rating, plans to release the film unrated if the MPAA decision is not rescinded, he added.

Artisan has not changed its plans to give the film a platform release, with a New York opening Oct. 6; an Oct. 20 release in Los Angeles; five more markets on Oct. 27; and 10 more Nov. 3.

An NC-17 rating can mean death at the box office, even for a platform release, because of numerous restrictions on advertising and marketing.

The film chronicles the ravages of addiction in the lives of three characters. Daily Variety’s review, which highlighted Aronofsky’s “formidable talent and technique,” called the film’s commercial prospects “slight,” given its experimental nature and difficult subject matter.

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