This past week I've been talking with distributor IDP Distribution before getting shut-out of acquiring "Supersize Me" at our theater. IDP has been busy with a wrestling match with MTV over running commercials for the movie.
The film is expanding to nearly 150 theaters this week and is doing quite well on a per-screen average, grossing over $3 million so far, which is rather huge for an indie documentary. With the growth of screens IDP was vying for some national exposure on the music channel, but the reasons for the lack of spots running is hard to glean with both sides pointing fingers. IDP contends that MTV was worried the commercials would upset their cash cow of fast-food advertisers. They also say they were told that edits had to be made to the spots if they were going to run on the network.
MTV responded by saying that they "suggested" changes be made, but in the end agreed to run the commercials. Rather than running the ads, says the network, IDP elected to issue press releases. (Natch, this is what's referred to as free publicity.) IDP then states they were never informed of the approval and that MTV only made that announcement once the press release went out.
MTV answered with "No way!!", IDP issued a statement saying, "You totally did!", then MTV released an official comment of "Fine, what-ever". The IDP press office responded with "MTV is completely Durst.", and the network went on the record saying "You are SO not running your ads here!"
One of the reasons MTV purportedly wanted to edit the commercial was a shot of director Morgan Spurlock getting physically sick while eating burgers. Because MTV has such high standards against such content. Or else Steve-O has a contractual stipulation that only he can instigate reverse peristalsis on camera.