Turns out that just announcing a plan to sanitize films in your movie library for certain audiences may not be the best plan.
Sony Pictures has already backtracked on their announced plan to offer up “clean versions” of numerous films in their library after a backlash from many of the involved filmmakers, according to Entertainment Weekly. Many of the directors were upset that their films were being changed without their approval or control in what got changed.
“Our directors are of paramount importance to us and we want to respect those relationships to the utmost,” said Sony Pictures Home Entertainment President Man Jit Singh in a new statement. “We believed we had obtained approvals from the filmmakers involved for use of their previously supervised television versions as a value added extra on sales of the full version. But if any of them are unhappy or have reconsidered, we will discontinue it for their films.”
Earlier in the month the studio launched the website Clean Version which was stated to be a way for families to watch certain films with “some scenes of graphic violence, offensive language, sexual innuendo, and other adult content” removed.
The list includes all five of the Spider-Man films, Captain Phillips, Big Daddy, Ghostbusters (1984), Ghostbusters II, Step Brothers, Hancock, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and many others.
Judd Apatow, director of Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and Step Brothers, was one of the directors that called Sony out for this new system. Other directors and actors like Adam McKay & Seth Rogen along with The Director’s Guild of America also stood against the Clean Version initiative.
Alongside the argument that a filmmakers film should not be changed without their consent, it’s also hard to argue that many of these films would be fundamentally altered if they were scrubbed tot he point of taking out anything a certain audience deems offensive.
While Sony has said in their statement that directors can have their films removed from the list, the Director’s Guild of America has released their own statement that asks for Sony to go even further than that.
“While we’re pleased that Sony is acknowledging its mistakes in this area, the DGA has notified Sony that it expects the immediate removal of all ‘clean’ versions of the affected films from availability until Sony secures permission from each and every director, and provides them with an opportunity to edit a version for release in new media – consistent with the DGA Agreement and the directors’ individual contracts,” the statement read. “These are hard-fought for rights that protect a director’s work and vision, and are at the very heart of our craft and a thriving film industry. As we have throughout our history, we are committed to fighting the unauthorized editing of films.”