Regal Cinemas may have declared bankruptcy last September, but the theater chain's money woes apparently haven't prevented it from turning away dollars if they are associated with controversy. Just two months after filing for Chapter 11 protection, Regal responded to complaints from moviegoers by pulling one of the ads that appears onscreen before the movie begins.
The ad was purchased by Population Services International, a nonprofit health-care organization based in Washington, D.C. The spot touted a "morning after" birth-control pill, also known as emergency contraception, using the slogan "Accidents happen, pregnancy doesn't have to."
Though PSI had paid more than $5,000 to run the ad in various theaters in downtown Portland for three weeks, the ad was pulled after four days. Later that month, PSI received a refund check for $5,000 but no explanation as to what had happened. More than a month later (and after much probing), Regal affiliate Cinema Screen finally sent PSI a fax, claiming that Regal had been forced to pull the ad from theaters after logging "numerous strenuous complaints."
It's not the first time birth-control advocates have been shut out of the local theaters. In 1999, Planned Parenthood paid Regal to flash a pre-movie slide that read, "Free women's health care if you earn less than $15,200 a year." It met with the Regal ax in less than a week.
For now, PSI has used the money refunded from the Regal deal to place its ad on another high-profile surface--the back of Tri-Met buses.