Obviously, this is the concern that’s getting the most attention, and for good reason: advertising might be divorced from the clarify watching the film would provide, but it doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and to most rational people a picture of a dude choking a lady with the words “Only the Strong Will Survive” makes for very uncomfortable viewing.
After all, not a lot of people have had their car slashed in two by a swimsuit wearing ninja, but plenty of people — and plenty of women — have been physically abused in the exact same way that Mystique is in the poster. Why would you risk reminding them of the worst thing that ever happened to them while trying to entice them to see your superhero movie? That’s not going to sell tickets. It’s just going to make everybody feel weird.
"There is a major problem when the men and women at 20th Century Fox think casual violence against women is the way to market a film," Rose McGowan told The Hollywood Reporter. “There is no context in the ad, just a woman getting strangled. The fact that no one flagged this is offensive and, frankly, stupid.”
Yup, it sure is — and considering that "X-Men Apocalypse" fell short of box office predictions, it might have even hurt their bottom line just a little bit. Which is too bad, because it's one of the first modern ensemble superhero movies to really put a female character, namely Mystique, at the center of its narrative.
Too bad you wouldn't really know that from the posters that show her getting the daylights choked out of her, huh?
Update, 3:20 ET: Fox has officially apologized for the billboard, telling The Hollywood Reporter in a statement, "In our enthusiasm to show the villainy of the character Apocalypse we didn’t immediately recognize the upsetting connotation of this image in print form. Once we realized how insensitive it was, we quickly took steps to remove those materials. We apologize for our actions and would never condone violence against women."