Sunday, July 15, 2018

Movie Ad of the Week: AFTER THE FALL OF NEW YORK (1984/1985)

Sergio Martino's 2019: AFTER THE FALL OF NEW YORK was scheduled for U.S. distribution by Almi Pictures in the fall of 1984, not long after the company had released Lucio Fulci's HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY sans an MPAA rating (It carried the warning "Due to the graphic nature of this film, no one under 17 will be admitted"). When the film was submitted to the Code and Ratings Administration it was slapped with an X rating for violence, and Almi came close to releasing it unrated. How close? The ad above is for the November 21st, 1984 opening in Los Angeles, which was cancelled so the film could be edited and resubmitted for an R. This cancellation, however, was not brought to the attention of Los Angeles Times critic Kevin Thomas, whose positive review did appear on November 21st!

When the film finally arrived in L.A. two months later (January 25, 1985), Almi had scrapped the exciting painted artwork of the original campaign and replaced it with a black-and-white photo of star Michael Sopkiw posing like Plissken under a reprint of Thomas' review.

A few months later, in Fangoria #44 (May 1985), Almi president Frank Moreno explained to writer David Everett why the ad campaign was changed after the issues with the MPAA caused the L.A. engagements to be cancelled: "I had gotten a lot of negative feedback from the film community on the advertising approach that we had been taking. So we looked at it again and decided that they were right and that our approach was wrong. No one here feels like they wrote the book. We feel we can learn from other people. I personally take responsibility for the mistake that was made in the original approach to the marketing of AFTER THE FALL OF NEW YORK. I made a mistake. I don't think it's wrong to make mistakes. I think it's wrong not to improve upon things. I think that the new approach that makes use of of an excerpt from the Thomas review is much better for the film, which is a Mad Max sort of picture with some form of comedic appeal to it. That sort of look, we feel, will attract a larger audience."

Two months after this interview was published -- and eight months after the first release was cancelled -- AFTER THE FALL OF NEW YORK opened in New York (July 26, 1985) with much smaller newspaper ads featuring a quote from Applause writer Brett Walker.

Vestron had the videocassette in rental shops two weeks later.

August 9, 1985

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