Couples Retreat is about four couples, three white and one black. In the American poster for the film, all eight stars' pictures and names are shown. In the U.K. poster, however, one couple is omitted. Any guesses which one? The black one, obviously, or else this wouldn't be a story.
Yep, Faizon Love and Kali Hawk are missing from the poster used in the U.K. As reported by London's Daily Mail, Universal Pictures says they just wanted to "simplify" the poster for foreign release, to focus on "actors who are most recognizable in international markets." Nonetheless, after getting complaints about racism from British viewers, the studio has apologized and scrapped plans to use the revised poster in other countries.
I feel a little sympathy for Universal here. It's certainly true that Love and Hawk are less famous in other countries than they are in the United States. (Heck, they're not that famous here, either.) Their characters are fourth in importance in the story; even in the American poster, they're all the way in the back. If you had to remove a couple from the poster, they'd be the logical choice.
Ah, but there's the problem -- why did Universal think they had to remove a couple? The poster with all eight characters did fine in America. Why change it? Do international audiences reject movies that appear to have too many characters? Is "clutter" a big complaint among British poster aficionados? If nothing else, someone at Universal should have realized that removing the black couple -- even if race had nothing to do with it -- would at least look sketchy. You'd think that as bad as the movie is, they'd be extra careful not to turn off any potential viewers with their marketing. Live and learn!
[Via Huffington Post.]