Red band (restricted audience) trailers are making a comeback. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Regal Cinemas has decided to allow red band trailers to be displayed before R and NC-17 rated movies. Red band trailers allow all the sex, violence, and smut talk that the usual green band (all audiences) trailers don't allow. They were "banned" because movie theaters were afraid a red-band trailer would find its way before a G-rated movie, traumatizing the toddlers who actually wanted to see Hostel anyway. Without a trailer that could capture the essence or the audience for certain R-rated features, movie studios had to cut green band trailers or resort to the Internet to peddle their uncensored wares. For a while, most chose to cut clean trailers, but a lot of them had dirty material the MPAA either allowed or missed.
I once saw a raunchy green band trailer for John Waters' NC-17 rated A Dirty Shame, which played before a PG-rated movie. "The following preview is approved for all audiences," said the familiar green screen. "The movie being advertised is rated NC-17 for pervasive sexuality." I said "WHAT THE?!" My then 8-year old niece asked "Uncle Odie, what's pervasive sexuality?" I told her to ask her mother. She had a lot to ask her mother; Tracie Ullman picks up a bottle with her womanly features in that trailer. What traffic cop at the MPAA thought the ol' snatchin' up the bottle trick was approved for all audiences?
Now that the restricted audience trailers are back, the question arises: Are they giving too much away? Showgirls' red-band trailer famously showed so much nudity that it made seeing the film completely irrelevant. Why bother going to see the movie if they're giving you the good stuff already? Since I'm nowhere near a Regal theater, I went to the websites of Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and The Ruins to see their naughtier trailers.
Harold and Kumar's trailer gives away some amusing lines, has some female nudity that gets covered up with superimposed White Castles, and shows more footage than the green band trailer of Neil Patrick Harris pretending to be straight. Forgetting Sarah Marshall's restricted trailer isn't much different than its regular trailer (the dirtiest verbal joke is in both versions), but should satisfy fans who want to see ridiculously acrobatic, comedic sex and Jason Siegel's bare ass without paying $12. And The Ruins -- well you just have to see how these people heard it through the grapevine.
Check them out and decide if they give too much away as opposed to their standard trailers. I think one of them does.