Sony caused a bit of a scene when it announced it was releasing “clean versions” of some of their most popular films, including all five of their Spider-Man films already having kiddie versions. Now, after many directors have complained about their films being changed without their approval or control, the studio is stepping back.
Earlier this month, Sony launched Clean Version Movies, a website where parents could buy family-friendly versions of popular movies to watch with their kids, in addition to the original films. This meant removing graphic violence, offensive language, sexual innuendo or other adult content. Some of the first 24 films included are the first two Ghostbusters films, Pixels, and all five of Sony’s Spider-Man films. More edited films were on the way.
Sony claimed they talked it over with each director or their representatives, but several directors (such as Adam McKay and Judd Apatow) spoke out against the website, saying they hadn’t signed off on their films being included. According to the Directors Guild of America, this violates a directors right to edit their own work for non-theatrical releases. So, Sony’s backtracking — at least for now.
“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 statement.
Sony said they will allow any directors to withdraw their films from the website if they don’t approve, and would seek explicit permission from directors before adding their films in the future. The DGA says that’s not enough, and is asking for Sony to remove all the films from the website until they get permission from each director — as well as give them the opportunity to edit the films themselves. We reached out to The Amazing Spider-Man director Marc Webb and Spider-Man director Sam Raimi to see if they plan on taking any action, but had not heard back at time of writing.