“Kinky” new Movie Poster for “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

Last week Sony released the first advance one sheet movie poster for the upcoming movie “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. At first glance, the movie poster looks fairly tame. Not so fast.

The image has Daniel Craig (Mikael Blomkvist) standing behind Rooney Mara (Lisbeth Salander). His arm is strategically wrapped around the front of her body. Mara is nude from what appears to be the waist up. But…hang on… As you gaze down the movie poster, it looks like she doesn’t even have pants on! If she does they might be the lowest slung hipster jeans I have ever seen. What is that Christmas tree ornament looking thing in her crotch? Is it a belt buckle?

If you look very closely at the bottom right of Mara’s thigh you can see what appears to be the outline of the beltline on a pair of jeans. So technically one could argue she isn’t nude. However, the image does stretch the limits of what is consider by the MPAA as acceptable for key art design used to promote movies.

It is likely that most folks outside Hollywood are not aware that the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) police more than just the rating a film gets before it is released. The MPAA regulates all advertising content which includes TV ads, radio ads, trailers and yes, even movie posters.

Recent examples of movie posters that ran afoul of the MPAA were the advance one sheet movie poster for Kevin Smith’s, “Zack and Miri Make a Porno”. This movie poster looks absolutely tame when compared with new “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. The actors are fully clothed. At the time, Kevin Smith was locked in a battle with the MPAA over an NC-17 rating that was first assigned to the film. After a few edits the rating was changed. What the MPAA did not let them do was release this movie poster in the US. It did appear in Canada to promote the film at the Toronto Film Festival.

To their credit, Smith and the producers for the film fired back at the MPAA by releasing a second movie poster. The second design takes a blatant shot at their critics at the MPAA. The controversy didn’t help the movie at the box office, it died a quick death.

Another poster that the MPAA banned was the advance one sheet for “Saw 2”. The image of the two severed fingers was too much for the MPAA. In a press release, they announced, “The poster’s content, which featured two severed fingers, was not approved and was “unacceptable.” The “Saw 2” movie poster never did make it to print in the US. The MPAA acted after Lionsgate released the movie poster image online.

Given what has happened lately with the mysterious release of a “bootleg” version of the movie trailer, (see our previous blogs) it is possible the MPAA may act on this movie poster for “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. Interestingly, that possibility doesn’t appear to be lost on Sony either. When a user visits Sony’s new placemat website for the film, www.dragontattoo.com there is a tab to view the movie poster. The site does not allow a user to view the movie poster until a form verifying you are over 18 is filled in.

We have never seen that before. Why would Sony restrict access to the movie poster image unless it had concerns over its content? Are they simply hedging their bets in light of what happened with the trailer or is this just another marketing ploy? Maybe they want the MPAA to act which will lead to another round of buzz about the film.

One clue might be the image you see on what appears to be Sony’s International version of the movie’s website. At www.dragontattoo.net you see an image that is far less risqué. There is a movie poster image that is floating around the web which might be a UK version. Why two different designs? Why not have the same images on both sites?

Time will tell if the MPAA will act on banning the movie poster. Based on what they have done in the past it could be likely. We don’t think this design will ever see the inside of movie theater’s light boxes.

Regardless, the horses have left this barn; once again Sony will benefit whatever the outcome. Stay tuned as we look “Behind the Design” of this poster and reveal what role David Fincher likely played in its conception and design.