Sony have been regularly 'sanitizing' their movies but cutting down the violence and strong language so as to make
them suitable for children. These versions are targeted at airlines and daytime TV but earlier this month Sony decided to make these sanitised versions available to download at home, choosing 24 titles:
50 First Dates, Battle Of The Year, Big Daddy, Captain Phillips, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Easy A, Elysium, Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters II, Goosebumps, Grown Ups, Grown Ups 2Hancock, Inferno, Moneyball, Pixels, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2,
Spider-Man 3, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man 2Step Brothers, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, White House Down
The censorship cuts are typically very extreme. For example, the clean version of Will Ferrell comedy Step Brothers - originally given an R rating for crude and sexual content according to Sony - has had 23 instances of violence taken out,
152 of bad language and 91 of sexual content.
The Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler romcom 50 First Dates had a PG13 for crude sexual humour and drug references. Its clean version has 10 violent moments taken out, 34 uses of bad language and 34 instances of sexual content.
Matt Damon sci-fi film Elysium , which also had an R rating for bloody violence, had 18 of those violent moments taken out, 63 uses of bad language and one instance of sexual content.
Horror comedy Goosebumps was a PG when it came out - so could be described as family-friendly already. But its clean version had four fewer incidences of violence, with five uses of bad language and five examples of nudity taken out too.
But now they've had to backtrack after filmmakers complained about the vandalisation of their works. After an outcry, the president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Man Jit Singh, said their directors were of paramount importance to us and
they wanted to respect those relationships to the utmost:
We believed we had obtained approvals from the film-makers 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.
Seth Rogen was one of the first to react when news of Clean Version emerged. He pleaded, adding a swear word for emphasis, please don't do this to our movies.
The Directors Guild of America (DGA) has said the hard-fought-for rights that protect a director's work and vision are at the very heart of our craft and a thriving film industry.