Last week, the unrated Director’s Cut of Lars von Trier’s new horror film The House That Jack Built made nearly $200,000 on 140 screens for its one-night-only premiere, but the screenings landed IFC Films in hot water with the MPAA. Long story short, their decision to release the film unrated in theaters so soon before the rated “R” release of the movie violated MPAA’s rules, the group asserts; IFC faces potential sanctions over the screenings.
The MPAA said in a statement last week that they have “communicated to the distributor, IFC Films, that the screening of an unrated version of the film in such close proximity to the release of the rated version – without obtaining a waiver – is in violation of the rating system’s rules. The effectiveness of the MPAA ratings depends on our ability to maintain the trust and confidence of American parents. That’s why the rules clearly outline the proper use of the ratings. Failure to comply with the rules can create confusion among parents and undermine the rating system – and may result in the imposition of sanctions against the film’s submitter.”
How does this impact the film, going forward? Well, the rated “R” version of The House That Jack Built is still being released into theaters and on VOD on December 14, as planned, but Slate notes this week that the wide roll-out for the “Director’s Cut” has been delayed as a result of the MPAA issues. That cut, they say, won’t be hitting VOD until June 2019. We have confirmed this with IFC.
The “R” rated cut is four minutes shorter, and (apparently) significantly less graphic.
In the film, Matt Dillon stars as a serial killer who views each of his murders as a work of art. Uma Thurman (Kill Bill), Bruno Ganz (Downfall), and Riley Keough (Mad Max: Fury Road) also star with South Korean actor, Yu Ji-tae, best known to us genre fans as the antagonist in Park Chan-wook’s 2003 hardboiled thriller Oldboy.
Rafael reviewed the film out of Sitges and explained that, “The nihilism of Lars von Trier’s darkly comedic The House That Jack Built rivals American Psycho.”