Just a couple of days after the release of Hatchet II, the AMC theater chain has pulled the unrated slasher sequel from all of the cinemas that were showing the movie. “We woke up this morning and the movie was gone,” says director Adam Green. “I’m bewildered and confused.”
Green had earlier told EW that AMC volunteered to exhibit an unrated version of Hatchet II after the MPAA declined to give the movie an R rating. “It turns out the people who make the decisions at AMC were big fans of the original Hatchet and loved the sequel,” the director said at the time. “I think the quote was that they thought it was the best slasher sequel they’d ever seen.”
The decision by AMC to exhibit an unrated film attracted a lot of attention in the media—as did Green’s attacks on the MPAA, which included his assertion that it was an “evil” organization. Green now speculates this may have been the reason why the chain pulled his movie, which stars Kane Hodder as a swamp-dwelling homicidal maniac named Victor Crowley. “I assume it probably had something to do with the controversy online about an unrated movie playing in theaters,” says the director. “To me, the whole thing is unfortunate because this is not a movie that deserves to be unrated. It’s a very funny, silly slasher movie about a swamp ghost that’s killing people in ridiculous ways. And now it’s become, you know, ‘Banned from cinemas.’ I’ve lost 11 pounds in the last week from stress.”
A spokesperson for AMC confirmed Hatchet II had been pulled from all of the company’s screens, and issued the following written statement: “At AMC theaters, we review all films in all of our theatres every week and then make our business decisions based on their performance.”
Green says that he is not disappointed with the performance of his film, which during its limited, truncated release grossed less than $70,000. “It’s an unrated cult movie that didn’t have commercials and all those other things,” he says. “I don’t see them pulling a movie on Sunday because it doesn’t look like the box office is going to blow people away.”
Green insists that while he has now given up hope of Hatchet II being granted any subsequent substantial life on the big screen, he remains sure that his film will still prove popular with horror fans. “The good thing is that the biggest audience for this movie—because it was for the first one—is going to with on demand and DVD,” he says. “I know that [Hatchet 2 distribution company] Dark Skies, in light of it being pulled prematurely, is going to do everything they can to get it to the fans as fast as they can. And that’s exciting. I don’t really make hardcore movies. I’m doing a kids movie next! Hopefully, this is the last time I’m ever even going to deal with something like this.”
Did you see Hatchet II before it was pulled? Would you have seen it this week?
Also: Horror fans, be sure to check back at EW.com’s PopWatch later tonight for the start of our Halloween “Psycho Killers” bracket game, where you help us crown the scariest, most fiendish movie murderer of all time.