Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has reportedly revised its ‘clean version’ film initiative which allows viewers to screen edited versions of two dozen of the studio’s films. The edited versions would remove graphic violence, offensive language, sexual innuendo, or other adult content.
Movies in the initial offerings included the first two “Ghostbusters” and “Grown Ups” films, “Talladega Nights,” “Easy A,” “Pixels,” “Captain Phillips,” “Big Daddy,” and all five of the “Spider-Man” films to date, with more on the way. Sony added that they talked it over with each director or their representatives.
However, several directors have since spoken out about the move – including Adam McKay and Judd Apatow – saying they hadn’t signed off on their films being included. The Directors Guild of America has since come out saying such an initiative violates a directors right to edit their own work for non-theatrical releases.
As a result, Sony is backtracking a bit with Man Jit Singh, president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, saying in a statement:
“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.”
As a result, Sony is saying they will allow any directors to withdraw their films from the website if they don’t approve, and will also seek explicit permission from directors before adding their films in the future.
That’s not enough for the DGA though which is asking for Sony to remove all current twenty-four films from the website until they get permission from each director – along with giving them the opportunity to edit the films themselves. Sony has asserted that the program’s current offerings are pre-existing airline or TV versions of films, which were not edited specifically for this program and are not sold separately.
The controversy comes as Utah-based VidAngel, which targets faith-based audiences, is launching a new service to filter offensive content on Amazon, Netflix & HBO Go. The original unauthorized service used DVD copies of Hollywood releases to filter out language and nudity – but is still fighting a battle in federal appeals court over violation of copyright.