In the last few days there’s been a firestorm of protest about the fact that the DVD cover of the US version of the film Pride removed all reference to homosexuality, despite the fact gay visibility is one of the main themes of the movie. What made people most angry wasn’t just that the blurb of the back cover ‘straightwashed’ the plot, but that one of the images had been photoshopped to remove a banner referencing the main group in the movie, ‘Lesbians & Gay Support The Miners’.
Now the film’s director, Matthew Warchus, has stepped forward with his thoughts on the DVD cover. Talking to BBC Radio 5’s Phil Williams, he said that, “Changing the cover is kind of clumsy and a bit foolish, but this is a film that is loved by people of all political persuasions and sexual orientations. I’m just keen for as many people who have yet to see the film to see it.”
He added, “I think someone in the marketing department in the US used their marketing judgement to try to remove any barrier to the widest possible audience. It’s clumsily done but I understand it and it’s a valid instinct.”
He also talked about “the nature of marketing” being “over-simplification [and] reductive”, as well as that he “didn’t want to preach to the converted” and hoped the movie would “find a mainstream audience [and] broaden people’s minds”.
Although we can understand what Warchus is saying, there are ways of appealing to a broad audience without creating a cover that effectively feels like it’s lying (by omission) about the movie, as well as going against its spirit.
While CBS Films owns the distribution rights to the film in the US, it’s believed that when they handed the DVD release to Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, they also took control of the DVD cover and that if was them who made the alterations.
Despite the controversy, Pride continued to be extremely well received, winning several awards at the British Independent Film Awards last month, and also scoring a Golden Globe Best Film nomination. (Quotes via PinkNews)