Sony forced to scale back its Clean Version initiative following industry outcry

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In the wake of a furious response, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment are reportedly revising their plans to release films through their “Clean Version” initiative.

The initiative allows viewers to screen sanitised versions of (initiatially) more than two dozen of the studio’s titles, with graphic violence, sexual content, and offensive language removed from the edit. Title included for the first crop of releases – which would be made available as bonus content on otherwise unedited copies – included Talladega Nights, Step Brothers, Captain Phillips, the Ghostbusters and Grown Ups movies, Easy A, Big Daddy, Pixels, and all five previous Spider-Man movies.

The initiative though evidently lacked one key component – namely the approval of the directors behind those films. Several of whom – including Judd Apatow and Adam McKay – have responded publicly with less than positive feedback, stating that they had in no way signed off on their films being included, and prompting the Directors Guild of America to issue a statement that such a project violates the creative rights of its members. Sony, naturally, are now backtracking on the issue, with Home Entertainment president Man Jit Singh stating:

“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.”

The new policy behind the initiative then will allow directors to withdraw their titles from the existing line-up, and will see the studio approach directors to obtain explicit permission before including any titles in future. Though this might be a win for some however, the DGA is insisting that Sony remove all titles from the existing roster pending such approval, and that their directors be given the opportunity to make such edits themselves should they sign off on their film featuring.

Sony meanwhile remain assertive that the “clean versions” being made available are pre-existing airline and TV versions of the films in question, that they were not editing specifically for this new initiative, and that these edits are not sold separately.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

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