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‘Super Size Me’ gets downsized by MTV

Network says film is ‘disparaging to fast-food restaurants.’
/ Source: Reuters

Film documentary “Super Size Me,” a critical look at the health impact of a fast-food only diet, has been downsized at MTV, which has refused to air advertisements for the film, its distributors said Wednesday.

Roadside Attractions and Samuel Goldwyn Films said in a statement the cable TV channel targeted to young audiences has told them the ads are “disparaging to fast-food restaurants.”

The distributors said MTV sister network VH1 was planning to use clips from the movie in a program called “Best Week Ever,” but the clips were pulled before the show aired.

An MTV spokeswoman was not immediately available to comment. MTV and VH1 are owned by media giant Viacom Inc , which depends on advertising for a major portion of revenues.

For “Super Size Me,” director Morgan Spurlock ate nothing but food from McDonald’s restaurants over 30-day period, and if asked whether he wanted the larger, “supersize” meal, he always said yes.

Over the month, he gains weight and his health declines. Documenting the impact are not only the cameras but also his doctors. Spurlock mixes in various facts and figures about food and dieting as he travels the United States talking to health and food experts in 20 cities.

In March, McDonald’s said it would eliminate its supersize menu options by year end. At that time, a company spokeswoman said the decision was unrelated to the movie.

“Super Size Me” has been a hit at box offices, and it earned Spurlock the Grand Jury Prize for best documentary director at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

The film began playing in theaters about two weeks ago and rose to No. 10 on domestic theater box office charts this past week. It has grossed $2.9 million in ticket sales — a hit for a documentary — and last weekend scored a per screen average of $6,759, just behind No. 2 film “Troy” with $7,014.

The film expands to 165 screens from 148 for the upcoming Memorial Day Holiday weekend, which the MTV ads had been timed to promote, a spokesman for the distributors said.