Ben Affleck is apparently considering whether or not to release his film Gone Baby Gone in the UK because of the real life case of the missing, presumed kidnapped, child Madeleine McCann.
Madeleine McCann's parents claim that she was kidnapped from their holiday home while they were having dinner with friends just moments away. Between checks of the house where she was sleeping they claim that she was kidnapped and has never been seen since.
This is similar to the main plot in Ben Affleck's film Gone Baby Gone which he co-adapted and directed, and is why he is considering the delay. Yet should it be held back from UK cinemas because of the real life case?
The story is adapted from a Dennis Lehane novel which tells of the kidnapping of a little girl from her home and how two local private investigators are pulled into the case, turning them against the police and each other and risking their lives for the answers they may not want.
So the core of the story focuses on a kidnapped girl and according to Digital Spy Affleck is considering delaying the film in the UK:
"I'm not up to date on the details and it is not something that has taken off in the United States in the way it has in the UK. It is only when someone said there was this case that was very similar to my film that we looked it up.
We don't want to release the movie if it is going to touch a nerve or inflame anybody's sensitivities."
While I think that the individual case of Madeleine McCann is terrible and very sad, I do find myself wondering about all the other children, and adults, that are kidnapped, beaten, raped, and murdered around the world. Surely every film release hits on someone's sensitivities at any given time.
Should each studio delay the release of each film for each of these cases? I don't think so.
The film is a dramatic work that can be played in cinemas and if people find offence with the subject matter then they can chose not to watch it. It isn't a direct connection or attack on these particular people and this particular case.
In fact, I think that this actually is a commercial matter on the part of the distributors. They can see the potential for either a lack of an audience or an outcry against the film, and either way that hurts ticket sales.
Now I'm not saying that they are blatantly cold hearted, but this is obviously a major factor in deciding to release the film or not.
To the matter in hand of the similarity to this single, well reported case of the kidnapped child, I'm sure we could look at every country of release during the first weekend/week of the film and find similar cases that could upset people's sensitivities - maybe not kidnapping, but cases which could evoke similar feelings - except none are so well reported, if at all.
Now I'm not being cold hearted, I'm looking at the bigger picture, the overall view, and looking past the media headlines. This subject is going to touch a lot of people for reasons perhaps the filmmakers don't want, and not necessarily about the kidnapping of a child, but that's the collision between real life and film sometimes. Especially when film mirrors real life.
There also has to be a consideration of commercial issues behind the film's release because there are people's jobs behind the film, and I don't mean the big players receiving huge returns.
So should they release the film or not? Should films be held back because of one widely reported case of kidnapping and wait until the media turns quiet and perhaps doesn't report another?
Movie delay supported by Affleck