Baptists Confused Why AMC Rejected 'Passion' Ad

( [email protected] ) Feb 06, 2004 02:19 PM EST

AMC Theaters is rejecting a video clip ad for the film The Passion of the Christ, presented by the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Details as to why the 30-second ad did not pass the AMC guidelines are still unclear.

Spokesman for AMC Entertainment Inc., Rick King, said, "Screen advertising is a pretty sensitive area and we have a pretty tight set of guidelines for what we will place on our screens and what we won't." However, he did not mention specifically what part of the ad didn’t meet the standards of AMC.

The ad begins with an actor invoking curiosity from the audience by asking, "You want to see the most scandalous story ever?"

The following words then appear on the screen, flashing on and off, "Betrayal. Sin. Adultery. Greed. Envy. Weakness. Poverty. Torture. Murder."

"Redemption," the actor says. "Now playing at a Baptist church near you" appears a message above a Baptist General Convention of Texas logo.

Becky Bridges, communications director for the association of Texas Baptist churches, says that she doesn’t understand why ACM Theaters didn’t approve of the ad.

"We followed all their regulations: not using Jesus, Bible or any other overt God talk," she said. "We do not use religious symbols or icons. We do not attempt to use guilt or other things that might appear to be judgmental or proselytizing.”

Bridges did speculate as to why AMC rejected the ad based on one clue. She mentioned the company officials labeled the ad, which describes Christ life and death as “too dark” and “too Christian.”

The Baptist Convention has offered to remove the words “murder” and “torture” in an effort to make the ad less offensive, according to AMC terms, but AMC still refused.

Regal Entertainment Group of Knoxville, Tenn., on the other hand, accepted the ad and will show it, beginning Feb. 25, the film’s release date, to some 200 Regal screens in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio.