Update: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released a new statement, promising to “discontinue” the clean versions of films if the directors “are unhappy [with] or have reconsidered” their position.
The original article continues below.
Sony Pictures is facing opposition from some filmmakers in the industry after the studio announced plans to release “clean versions” of films from its cinematic library. Judd Apatow called the initiative “absolute bullsh–” in a tweet directed at Sony on Tuesday, while the Directors Guild of America released a formal statement denouncing the move.
“@sony and @SonyPictures is gonna get hell for F—ING with our movies,” Apatow wrote. “Shove the clean versions up your asses!” The Trainwreck director produced Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and Step Brothers, two of the 24 films that already received clean versions.
Announced earlier this month, Clean Version removes “some scenes of graphic violence, offensive language, sexual innuendo, and other adult content” from specific films. Marc Webb and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies, 50 First Dates, and the original Ghostbusters are among those already available in this format with more on the way.
“Directors have the right to edit their feature films for every non-theatrical platform, plain and simple,” the DGA said in a statement obtained by Entertainment Weekly. “Taking a director’s edit for one platform, and then releasing it on another — without giving the director the opportunity to edit — violates our agreement. Throughout the years, the DGA has achieved hard-fought creative rights gains protecting our members from such practices. As creators of their films, directors often dedicate years of hard work to realize their full vision, and they rightfully have a vested interest in protecting that work. We are committed to vigorously defending against the unauthorized alteration of films.”
Seth Rogen, who produced and starred in Sony’s The Interview and Sausage Party, tweeted opposition to Clean Movies shortly after the announcement. “Holy sh– please don’t do this to our movies. Thanks,” he wrote. (Rogen’s films are not included in the current “clean” plans.)
A rep for director Adam McKay also told The Hollywood Reporter, “The Clean Version initiative is news to Adam McKay. He would not have agreed to this.”
Man Jit Singh, president of Sony Home Entertainment, said in a statement (via Variety), “This is a pilot program, developed in response to specific consumer feedback, that offers viewers the option of watching an airline or TV version of certain movies when they purchase the original version. We discussed this program, and the use of these pre-existing versions, with each director or their representatives.”