The marketing and promotions departments at Lionsgate and Summit have had a hard week this week.
The studio’s high-profile sci-fi blockbuster “Ender’s Game” hits in November, a film adaptation of the 1985 novel by Orson Scott Card. Card has famously and vocally been anti-gay and anti-same-sex marriage over the years, and is on the board of the anti-gay group the National Organization for Marriage. So far, so old news.
What set the cat amongst the pigeons recently though was a campaign by Geeks OUT called SkipEndersGame which basically asks people to take a stand against the author’s views and asks them to pledge to ‘skip’ the film.
This lead to Card giving a statement to EW on Monday saying “Ender’s Game is set more than a century in the future and has nothing to do with political issues that did not exist when the book was written in 1984. With the recent Supreme Court ruling, the gay marriage issue becomes moot. Now it will be interesting to see whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute.”
Later in the week, Lionsgate issued a statement distancing itself from the author’s views: “The simple fact is that neither the underlying book nor the film itself reflect these views in any way, shape or form. On the contrary, the film not only transports viewers to an entertaining and action-filled world, but it does so with positive and inspiring characters who ultimately deliver an ennobling and life-affirming message.”
Now, in a further effort to quell the backlash, Lionsgate have also issued a statement saying: “Lionsgate will continue its longstanding commitment to the LGBT community by exploring new ways we can support LGBT causes and, as part of this ongoing process, will host a benefit premiere for Ender’s Game.”
Whether this will quell some of the negative buzz surrounding the film is hard to say. Next week’s Comic Con panel for the film will likely be monitored closely to judge crowd reactions should this issue come up. Card will notably NOT be attending the panel.