Like the Super Bowl in the United States, World Cup soccer is an enormous showcase for advertisers abroad—and Hollywood often pays millions to showcase upcoming big movies in front of huge television audiences. In Britain, where the games air live in primetime, 20th Century Fox secured a halftime slot for a clip of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which opens there on July 17.
Though it was later in the evening, younger viewers presumably staying up late to watch the Argentina/Netherlands semifinal on ITV Wednesday night were treated to a violent sequence where a devious ape tricks two armed men and blows them away with an automatic weapon. According to the London Telegraph, the Advertising Standards Agency (the independent agency that regulates advertising in the U.K.) received about 100 complaints about the sequence. “Complainants are concerned that the ad shows an ape grabbing a gun and shooting a man with it, during the broadcast of the World Cup semi-finals, which children would have been watching,” a spokesperson for the ASA told the paper. “We’re currently loading these complaints, we’ll access them before making a decision as to whether we will investigate or not.”
The scene in question has been online for almost a month, and Fox had prepped its audience online by teasing a “dramatic Apes clip,” but some questioned the wisdom of its placement on TV during the soccer match, considering the audience. Tim Wheeler, who works for BBC Radio, tweeted:
Twentieth Century Fox declined to comment.