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November 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

John Fithian

Persistent reports that newspapers will refuse out-of-hand to run advertisements for NC-17 movies and that many theaters will likewise refuse to screen them are perpetuating a “myth,” according to John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theatre Owners. In an interview with the Associated Press, Fithian hailed Fox Searchlight for its decision not to challenge the NC-17 rating handed out to its upcoming Shame, which stars Michael Fassbender as a “sex addict” and includes a full-frontal nude scene with him. “Filmmakers and movie studios are inappropriately afraid of the rating,” Fithian told the A.P., noting that a survey of 100 theaters found that 97 of them would play an NC-17 film and that most newspapers will accept ads for them if they’re tasteful. “What we currently have is a system that’s slightly flawed in the reluctance of filmmakers and distributors to use the NC-17,” Fithian says. “What they’ll do is cut and trim and try to cram a movie into the R rating category so that it escapes the NC-17, and that’s not a legitimate use of the system.”