An advertising decision for the movie “Couples Retreat” has many accusing the marketers of the Vince Vaughn comedy of racism.
The film stars four couples including black actors Faizon Love and Kali Hawk. However, Love and Hawk were removed from the promotional poster used in the United Kingdom after the U.S. version used all four couples. A Universal spokesman has said that the altered poster aimed “to simplify the poster to actors who are most [recognizable] in international markets,” but the move is still certainly questionable.
A 2007 New York Times article
noted that American films with black stars typically struggle in the overseas market. Even megastars like Will Smith rank no better than twelfth when it comes to ticket sales internationally.
This all reminds me of a magazine I once worked for which had an obvious lack of diversity in its images. One day I asked the editorial and artistic directors why they’d never featured a black woman on the cover of the magazine and they simply answered, “They just don’t sell the product.”
Fortunately, Universal has issued a statement regretting any offense it caused, and the studio has scrapped all plans to use the modified poster in other overseas markets.
Here is the original poster with Love and Hawk:
And here is the altered version:
What do you think of the posters?