No swearing. Less violence. Cleaned-up sex.
In a move that could only be labeled “how to make movies less interesting,” Sony just announced the release of “Clean Versions” of their movie catalogue. These are “adapted versions appropriate for a wider audience” so viewers will “feel more comfortable sharing your favorite movies together.” In other words, heavily scrubbed and sanitized takes on your favorite films. Initially, these clean takes will be bundled in with the regular theatrical versions when you buy the flicks on iTunes, Vudu or Fandango Now.
Third-party services like ClearPlay and VidAngel have tried this before, but run afoul of movie studios for making unauthorized edits of copyrighted material. No such problem for Sony, which owns the rights to these films and already has edits available for broadcast use (some supervised by the films' directors, some not).
Initial clean titles include Captain Phillips, the first two Ghostbusters, Step Brothers and those bad Amazing Spider-Man films.
Why this is terrible:
- Of the 24 films, only two were originally R-rated. Didn’t we already go through the editing process?
- Something called the Internet (Note to parents: your kids already figured out how to circumvent your parental controls).
- Just watch Sony’s example video. They somehow made Will Ferrell unfunny.
Initial reactions have been decidedly incensed. Seth Rogen tweeted “Holy shit please don’t do this to our movies.” (As one Rogen fan noted, his edited films would now be “three minutes of credits and that’s it.”) William Hughes of The AV Club dryly noted that Sony’s idea “Finally [allows] frequent travelers to recreate the sanitized, cocoon-like viewing experience of watching a movie on an airplane in their own home.” Slashfilm stated the move is “a slippery slope” and that “editing content to make it more appropriate for families is teetering right on the edge of it.”
And one Reddit user reminded us of MadTV’s broadcast-friendly, PG-take on The Sopranos — which ended up being three minutes of hilariously choppy edits and a lot of “fuhs.”
Enjoy the bland.