'The House That Jack Built' Unrated Screening Broke MPAA Rules And IFC Films Is In Hot Water

Last night, theaters across the country screened the controversial, unrated The House That Jack Built director's cut. The screening was a much-hyped, one-night-only event that played up how shocking and rule-breaking Lars von Trier's latest misery opus is. But the screening might have broken one rule too many. IFC Films is now facing sanctions by the MPAA for screening the film without getting the appropriate waiver. Whoops.

Here's something you might not have known: according to the MPAA, you need a specific waiver to screen an unrated version of a film close to the release of the rated version. I didn't know this, and you know who else didn't know this? IFC Films. According to THR, IFC is in hot water for screening the unrated House That Jack Built director's cut a few weeks before they screen the R-rated cut. The MPAA released the following statement on the matter:

"The MPAA has communicated to the distributor, IFC Films, that the screening of an unrated version of the film in such close proximity to the release of the rated version — without obtaining a waiver — is in violation of the rating system's rules. The effectiveness of the MPAA ratings depends on our ability to maintain the trust and confidence of American parents. That's why the rules clearly outline the proper use of the ratings. Failure to comply with the rules can create confusion among parents and undermine the rating system — and may result in the imposition of sanctions against the film's submitter."

So what happens now? The sanctions IFC now faces including "revoking the official R rating, or worse, suspending the ratings process for any other IFC Films currently before CARA. IFC could also be suspended from participating in the ratings system entirely for no more than 90 days, according to CARA rules."

This all sounds very frustrating for IFC, and a bit silly overall. Sure, technically IFC is in the wrong here, but the MPAA is coming across as a bunch of bureaucrats trying to impose sanctions on art. This is just like Footloose, where Kevin Bacon blows into town and finds out John Lithgow has banned dancing. Let IFC Films and The House That Jack Built dance, MPAA! Let them dance!

If the MPAA doesn't stop it, the R-rated House That Jack Built will hit select theaters and VOD on December 14, 2018.

In five episodes, failed architect and vicious sociopath Jack recounts his elaborately orchestrated murders — each, as he views them, a towering work of art that defines his life's work as a serial killer in the Pacific Northwest.

The House That Jack Built