I don’t go to movies much anymore. When I do, I can’t say I pay much attention to the advertising ahead of the film. Others do, though, and might be lured into buying whatever is offered because humankind is often more sheeple than people. If rationalism, atheism and reason are what’s being offered, heaven forbid! The people who run Angelika Film Center in Plano decided to cancel an ad prepared by Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason the day before it was set to air. Zachary Moore, who runs DFWCR, ran into the same issue with a different theatre in Arlington around Easter.
“The Movie Tavern has claimed that they have a policy against religious advertising, but such a policy has not been provided to us,” said Moore.
“Following the cancellation of our contract with the Movie Tavern, we sought out a similar contract with the Angelika and was successful.”
Angelika Film Center of Plano, Texas did not return a request for comments by press time.
Angelika Theater representatives reportedly told the atheist group that it won’t run the ad due to the theater’s position that no religious ads be allowed at the business. Moore, however, disputes Angelika’s reasoning.
“Angelika has not made any such policy available to us, nor was this mentioned during our contract negotiation,” said Moore.
“The Angelika has even refused to provide us with a written notice of our contract cancellation. As with the Movie Tavern, we have received reports of regular religious advertising at the Angelika.”
I think it is suspicious that these theatres claim to have a “no religion” policy yet refuse to produce written proof of it, especially if they’re ignoring its existence in every other situation. What kind of pro-religion ads are they running, I wonder?
Some groups, including the American Humanist Association, are apparently considering a lawsuit over this but I don’t know if they’d have success with it. Theatres are allowed to reject advertising. A church in Orange county ran into a similar issue last year when they wanted to advertise their Easter program at the local film house but were turned down. In that case, the Jesus message as presented was deemed too religious for a mainstream movie theatre. The theatre offered to run a watered down version if they produced one but they didn’t bother.
That’s a tough one. But they might win. This case is a little different. As you said, the theaters in question don’t truly have a policy and they allow other religious advertising so they should allow the no-religion advertising. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
Hopefully I remember to check on it.