For the last week now, Sony has been toying with an idea of a pilot program that will allow the studio to sell “clean versions” of their films to people that want it digitally. According to Collider, it seems that there are 24 films in the program from Goosebumps to Step Brothers. Since the new broke last week, it seems that many people are not happy with the program, including some directors.
First thing to keep in mind, these “clean” versions of the movies already exist from edited versions for airline movies to cable networks. Sony is viewing this as an added bonus for families that would not watch a particular movie in its original form and no that it will not go against standard that you would see on Comedy Central or Spike TV.
As one would expect, there is a blacklash to it. So much so that Sony is reconsidering the program. The studio tells THR, “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,” so now they’re going back and making sure the directors are okay with the clean versions being sold. If they’re not okay with it, Sony says “we will discontinue it for their films.”
Judd Apatow has spoken out on Twitter about having clean versions of his films sold, saying “This is absolute bullshit and @sony and @SonyPictures is gonna get hell for F—ING with our movies. Shove the clean versions up your asses!”
Apatow’s comments should be taken with a grain of salt since all his movies were never with Sony. However, Adam McKay said he did not agree to this, given that Step Brothers is part of the program. “The Clean Version initiative is news to Adam McKay. He would not have agreed to this,” said a rep for the filmmaker. McKay’s Step Brothers and Talladega Nights are both offering clean versions.
Some people may not be opposed to this as many of these movies were available. However, the original films are usually the version that is the director’s vision of the movie. Offering a “clean” version of the movie is the studios way of capturing the market on people that would not see these movies in the theater. This just seems like a way for the studio, who is in the middle of some financial woes, to try some double dipping for their revenue.