After Initial Rejection, a Texas Movie Theater Will Run Atheist Ad

Last week, I mentioned that the Dallas–Fort Worth Coalition of Reason was embarking on a new advertising campaign called “Our Families Are Great Without Religion.” The goal was to highlight how “family” was not synonymous with “Christian.”

One ad seemed to be particularly controversial:

That ad was supposed to appear during pre-show ads at the Green Oaks Movie Tavern in Arlington. At the last minute, though, the theater changed its mind and said no.

Now, some good news: Another theater has accepted it! The Angelika Film Center in Plano will start running the ad before movies beginning on Good Friday :)

Zachary Moore, DFWCoR’s spokesman, tells Unfair Park that the group reached out to the Angelika chain after being it’s-not-you-it’s-me’d by Movie Tavern. “Initially they said no, and then they said maybe if we changed the ad, and then they said yes to the original,” he writes. “It’s an Easter miracle!”

So yay for that. Even though it’s ridiculous that this theater initially opposed the harmless image above, as if it represented something awful…

Congratulations to the DFW-CoR for being persistent with this and getting the ad accepted. If you haven’t seen the rest of the wonderful ads in their “Family” campaign, check them out here.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • westley

    Quid Malmborg in Plano!

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.zamecki Joe Zamecki

    That’s a real nice looking ad. Bravo to DFWCOR! :o) 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Leithiser/593361421 Chris Leithiser

    Now I’m wondering if the family on the left wasn’t the real reason for the rejection.

  • usclat

    I’ve always liked the Angelika in Plano! Dinner at Mexico City Tacos and then a movie in support!

  • bismarket

    This has got to be the best image i’ve ever seen used for an Atheism ad of any sort. I am genuinely baffled as to how anyone could see anything controversial in it. I can only assume it’s purely the existence of Atheists that’s controversial.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Sweet/1280927267 James Sweet

    So let me be clear up front I am not defending the refusal of the ad.  In the following paragraphs, I am going to be speculating on how some moviegoers may feel, despite the fact that I think those feelings are more or less indefensible.  So just don’t misunderstand me here….

    I can understand a lot more why a movie theater would be afraid to run a pro-atheism (or even pro-secularism) ad than, say, a bus company or a billboard company.  For one thing, your eyes are being directed to the screen.  It’s not like a billboard or a bus ad where you may walk/drive past it and not even see it (I know I for one tune out a lot of that sort of advertising).

    Also, you’re not getting on a bus in anticipation of being entertained, you’re getting on a bus so you can go somewhere.  If you see an ad that mildly upsets you, do you now feel like you’ve been cheated because your morning commute wasn’t as enjoyable as you expected for the money you paid for it?  No, that’s silly.  Certainly a commute can be more or less enjoyable, but we don’t commute for enjoyment.

    By contrast, you can picture some idiot sitting down to watch a movie with their kids, seeing this ad and getting all pearl-clutchy over it, and them then feeling “cheated” that their family night was ruined.  

    Again, I think it’s really crappy that people would get so offended over such an innocuous ad, so don’t think I’m defending that… if something like this is going to ruin their evening, that’s their problem — but then again, it’s also (sort of) the movie theaters problem.

    So I can understand.  Sort of.  For something like a billboard, I think the tradeoff between valuing free expression vs. upsetting people who might see the billboard is clear: anybody whose entire day is going to be ruined from seeing a billboard that has an idea which challenges them to think a little bit, well, they can kiss my butt.  But on the other hand, for the theater, this sort of thing could really cause problems for them, especially in Texas.

    I don’t sympathize with the potentially-offended people, but I do sympathize with the theater a bit.  I guess that’s all I’m saying.

    • Gus Snarp

      The solution is to stop running ads. Are those families more offended and upset by the ad than I am by ads for the U.S. Army that glamorize war? I certainly don’t want my kids seeing those ads. Then there are previews for horror movies. I hate horror movies, I find them really upsetting, even ads an previews. While I’ve grown out of it, as a child a T.V. ad for a horror movie would give me nightmares. Yet horror movie trailers are shown before many kinds of movies in theaters. I certainly was upset by them as a child, and while I’m less upset now, I certainly don’t like seeing them. I’ve never complained about these ads and trailers, I understand that they’re part of the cost of doing business, although I’m a bit upset that there is now a long period of ads that runs before the movie but after the advertised start time. 

      It seems to me that if a theater is really worried people will be upset by ads, they have a lot more to ban than a mild mannered ad like the one shown here.

  • Gus Snarp

    Best. Atheist. Ad. Ever. DFWCOR is doing it right.

  • http://drzach.net Zachary Moore

    Not so fast, it seems. I’ve just been called by a rep for the Angelika Plano, and it seems that in the face of complaints from Christian customers, they’re canceling our contract. Please direct your complaints to 972-943-1300 and ask for the manager!


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