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Sony Pictures’ ‘excessively menacing’ Venom movie trailer deemed too violent

Sony Pictures’ trailer for its American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics, Venom, has been banned by the ad watchdog for its trailer which was found to be too violent and “excessively menacing”.

The trailer was described as “terrifying”, “frightening” and “distressing”, with one complaint arguing the trailer “shows a horrifying dark image of a monster, with sharp teeth, grabbing people by the neck. Seriously full on for a toddler to see”.

“The CGI venom character is frightening in appearance and has caused my three and five year old children significant distress (crying, hiding, saying ‘it’s too scary’). I don’t believe this trailer should be shown prior to 20:30 at night during ‘family’ viewing times when very young members of the family might be exposed to distressing, frightening CGI graphics,” another said.

Sony Pictures said the trailer ads don’t breach any codes as they don’t discriminate, exploit or degrade any individual and they don’t use obscene language.

“VENOM was approved for advertising on the likelihood that it will be classified ‘M’. Films classified M are recommended for mature audiences but carry no legal age restrictions,” Sony Pictures added in response to the complaints.

Ad Standards acknowledged that choosing scenes from a movie to put into a trailer can be difficult but advertisers need to take great caution in making sure each scene is appropriate and justifiable in context of the product.

The ad watchdog said “several scenes showing the monster with its mouth wide open and displaying a lot of sharp teeth and dripping mouth, presented as if about to eat someone, were excessively menacing.”

The scene which Ad Standards said was “menacing”

In conclusion, Ad Standards said the trailer portrayed violence which wasn’t justifiable in the context of the movie being promoted.

Sony Pictures said the advertisements ceased on October 6.

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