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Sony Home Ent. backtracks on 'clean' movie plan after director backlash

The Home Entertainment division promises to ‘discontinue’ clean versions if directors aren’t on board.

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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment revisited its plan to offer “clean” versions of their films in light of a forceful pushback from some filmmakers in the industry.

“Our directors are of paramount importance to us and we want to respect those relationships to the utmost,” Man Jit Singh, president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, said in a new statement. “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 studio launched a website for Clean Version, which removed “some scenes of graphic violence, offensive language, sexual innuendo, and other adult content” from a list of 24 films. The plan was to do the same for more titles, but Seth Rogen, Judd Apatow, and the Directors Guild of America spoke out against the initiative — one being more harsh than others.

“This is absolute bullsh–,” Apatow, who produced Sony’s Step Brothers and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, tweeted. “@sony and @SonyPictures is gonna get hell for F—ING with our movies. Shove the clean versions up your asses!” Rogen, having starred in and produced Sausage Party and The Interview, two films not currently on Clean Version’s initial list, pleaded, “Please don’t do this to our movies.”

The DGA, which initially denounced the project, issued a new statement in light of Sony’s change of heart.

“While we’re pleased that Sony is acknowledging its mistakes in this area, the DGA has notified Sony that it expects the immediate removal of all ‘clean’ versions of the affected films from availability until Sony secures permission from each and every director, and provides them with an opportunity to edit a version for release in new media – consistent with the DGA Agreement and the directors’ individual contracts,” the statement read. “These are hard-fought for rights that protect a director’s work and vision, and are at the very heart of our craft and a thriving film industry. As we have throughout our history, we are committed to fighting the unauthorized editing of films.”