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U.S. DVD Release Of ‘Pride’ Called Out For Removing References To Homosexuality

U.S. DVD Release Of 'Pride' Called Out For Removing References To Homosexuality

Critically acclaimed, a box office success at home, and the winner of Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor at the British Independent Film Awards, “Pride” had no shortage of accolades in 2014. But when it came to releasing the film, CBS Films couldn’t seem to figure out what to do with it. They dropped the movie in limited release on September 26th and try as they might, they couldn’t get audiences to show up. But you might think that the awards accolades and critical praise might give them another shot on home video, but it seems they’ve bungled that too.

PinkNews have pointed out that the U.S. DVD release of “Pride,” which hit stores on December 23rd, was curiously absent of any references to homosexuality. And it’s a bit odd considering the movie is based on the true story of LGBT activists and mining union groups coming together to form Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners to battle the policies of Margaret Thatcher in ’80s-era England. But as you’ll see in picture below, the synopsis curiously removes any mention of sexuality (featured in the official version) and that’s not all. The still image has also been scrubbed of the protest sign that says “Lesbians & Gays Support The Miners.” Compare below:

BBC News investigated the matter a bit further, and reached out CBS Films, who offered this comment: “We’re looking into this now and our page for the film remains the same as it has for months.” But here’s the thing: unless it was some kind of rogue designer acting with no oversight, there seems to have been a calculated decision to remove any references to gays and lesbians in the home video release of the film.

But for Ben Robert, director of the BFI Film Fund, he finds a disappointing predictability in what has happened. “I’m not surprised that the US distributors have taken a decision to sell more copies by watering down the gay content. I’m not defending it, it’s wrong and outmoded, but I’m not surprised,” he told the BBC. “It’s an unfortunate commercial reality both here and in the US that distributors have to deal with and consider in getting films onto the shop shelf. LGBT material is largely marginalised outside of rare hits like ‘Brokeback Mountain.’ “

Thoughts? Does CBS Films needs to provide a more vigorous response this matter? Let us know below.

Update: Director Matthew Warchus has issued a statement regarding the marketing and audience for “Pride.” Read below…

“Pride is a film which plays incredibly well to a global mainstream audience of any political or sexual persuasion.  It’s a film about two groups of people forming an unlikely alliance and fighting each others’ corners rather than just their own. It is probably one of the most political films ever to hit the mainstream and it is certainly one of the most loved films of the year (even by people who hate politics).  I don’t consider it a ‘Gay Film’ or a ‘Straight Film’. I’m not interested in those labels. It is an honest film about compassion, tolerance, and courage.
Marketing Pride has proved an interesting challenge from day one, and there are many people in the mainstream who have yet to see the film. My guess is some of those people are imagining that the film is maybe ‘too political’ for them, and some others are imagining it could possibly be ‘too gay’. As it happens, these concerns completely evaporate in the presence of the movie itself, but they are important when attempting to manage potential audience perceptions through marketing. Since the day I first read the script I have felt passionately that this film, of all films, deserves to find a fully diverse audience, from all walks of life. Indeed its’ very meaning and message is diminished the more ‘niche’ it becomes. I look forward to living in a world where these kinds of marketing negotiations are neither valid nor necessary – but we’re not there yet. In a sense, that’s why I made the film.
For these reasons I don’t automatically condemn any attempt to prevent the movie being misunderstood as an exclusively “Gay Film”. I certainly don’t regard such attempts as homophobic.”

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