'House That Jack Built' Ratings Dispute Resolved by IFC, MPAA

Courtesy of Cannes
'The House That Jack Built'

The distributor "acknowledges that there was confusion in the marketplace" over an unrated director's cut and R-rated version, the organizations said in a joint statement.

The MPAA and IFC Films are making nice after the motion-picture lobbying body slapped the film distributor on the wrist for violating its ratings rules in screenings of provocateur Lars von Trier's latest, The House That Jack Built.

"The Classification and Rating Administration (CARA) and IFC Films have reached a mutually agreed upon resolution to address CARA’s concerns associated with The House That Jack Built, Director’s Cut (unrated) and The House That Jack Built (rated R)," the MPAA and IFC said Friday in a joint statement. "IFC Films acknowledges that there was confusion in the marketplace about the rating and has committed to working with CARA to avoid any confusion going forward."

The organizations' dispute began when the MPAA informed the distributor via a written notice that its plan to screen an unrated director's cut of the graphic serial-killer movie for one night in 100 cities arrived too close to the film's official release date, Dec. 14. To do so would have required a waiver that the distributor did not obtain.

At the time, IFC stuck to its guns, saying that it did "not believe that the one-day screening of the Director’s Cut unrated version has violated the MPAA’s Classification and Rating Rules."

But the distributor would have faced hearings and possible sanctions if they had not resolve the unrated screening release-date issue. "Failure to comply with the rules can create confusion among parents and undermine the rating system," the MPAA said in its initial statement about the dispute.

On Friday, the MPAA reiterated that its goal in spacing out unrated and rated versions was to maintain clarity for parents. "CARA’s ultimate goal is to maintain the trust and confidence of American parents by providing them with accurate, useful information about the level of content in films — and appreciates IFC Films’ cooperation to ensure the proper use of the ratings," the statement read.

IFC acquired The House That Jack Built in May at the Cannes Film Festival, where a screening of the film prompted walkouts, complaints and groans. Still, the movie ultimately was awarded with a standing ovation in France.