In the latest twist regarding Sony’s decision to release sanitized versions of some of its movie titles, the studio has announced that no "clean" movie cuts will be released without the director’s approval. The studio’s decision last week to alter 24 of their PG-13 and R-rated films was met with strong opposition from many. The initial plan was to release alternate versions of some of their most popular titles – such as Easy A, Ghostbusters, Moneyball, Step Brothers and Talladega Nights – to customers on iTunes, Vudu, and Fandango Now.
Citing a desire to respond to “specific customer feedback” with their so-called Clean Version initiative, the edited versions of the initial 24 films listed last week will remove any swearing, sex, or excessive violence within the films themselves. The end result will be popular titles that can be enjoyed by entire families, rather than the limited adult demographic that they currently demand. At least this was what Sony was hoping for. However, they clearly did not anticipate the response they received as a result – particularly from the directors themselves.
Now with plenty of vocal resistance to this Clean Version initiative, Sony is backtracking somewhat. According to The Wrap, the wishes of any director who denies the studio’s request to sanitize their film will be respected and an altered version will not be released. In a statement regarding this issue, Sony Home Entertainment president Man Jit Singh said:
"Our directors are of paramount importance to us, and we want to respect those relationships to the utmost. 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."
Things reached fever pitch recently when some of Sony’s biggest filmmakers, like Oscar-winner Adam McKay (The Big Short) -- who only yesterday learned that two of his films, Talladega Nights and Step Brothers, were part of Sony’s plan – as well as Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow publically spoke out against their films potentially being edited for younger audiences. Apatow in particular was especially vocal about the plan, making it clear in an expletive laden Twitter statement that clean versions were not wanted or appreciated. At present, the Directors Guild is looking into the legal logistics of the move, to ensure that creating sanitized versions doesn’t violate contractual agreements.
There is currently no shortage of Sony films for families to enjoy together. It is understandable that the studio is always looking for a way to please everyone, but quite possibly the best way in which they can do this is to continue to focus on releasing the sort of titles that have already made them one of the biggest and most respected names in Hollywood film production.
Source: The Wrap