The interwebs have been all a’buzz about the straightwashing of the American DVD for the unexpected summer indie hit Pride, but it appears there might be a silver lining, according to the film’s director Matthew Warchus.
He told BBC Radio 5’s Phil Williams 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 continued by reasoning that he, “didn’t want to preach to the converted” and that his desire is “to find a mainstream audience [and] broaden people’s minds.”
And perhaps he has a point, though tricking people into watching a film about a topic they wouldn’t have normally chosen doesn’t seem like the most productive way of winning hearts and minds.
“I think someone in the marketing department in the U.S. 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.”
Then he got a little deeper, describing the “nature of marketing” as “over-simplification [and] reductive.” Can’t argue there.
Still, is it better to appeal to as wide an audience as possible by watering down the film’s themes, or advertise it as what it is — an inspiring story of gays and lesbians connecting with another mistreated community at the height of AIDS hysteria — and hoping viewers still want to stick around and watch it?
I wasn’t surprised, exactly, to see the cover altered for distribution in the US. This sort of thing happens all the time, particularly with imports into the US market.
Examples range from the ridiculous name change of a Harry Potter novel (Philosopher’s Stone to Sorcerer’s Stone) to the more recent (and perhaps more understandable) change in title of the novel The Book of Negroes to Someone Knows My Name.
American content publishers, from literature to film, think that American consumers (whether in reality or due to the assumptions of publishers) aren’t capable of consuming some media unchanged from the sensibilities of their place of origin.
Hey, Americans, if you want your media unadulterated from the original, tell your publishers that you can handle images of a gay protest and words like ‘sorcerer’.
Do people even do impulse retail buys anymore? With smartphones and internet shopping, I’d imagine it’s incredibly easy to get more information on a movie before deciding whether or not to buy it or not. To attract eyes in a video store, most cover designer go for the “big floating heads” look, to showcase the big name stars. The sort of people who would actively look for movies like “Pride” wouldn’t be bothered by the presence of LGBT elements.
It’s because the automatic fallback of Hollywood is still to assume that anything gay is bad for business, so hide hide hide.
sounds like someone with a development deal pending at the studio who doesn’t want to jeopardize it…..
Would have been much less controversial if they had just chosen different cover art for the American release in the first place. Different covers are done all the time so it almost seems as though they were looking for the free publicity that would come from “sanitizing” the original UK cover photo. No, they wouldn’t do that would they?
We do it to ourselves.
Why is “Gay Pride” reduced to the more socially acceptable “Pride”?
Just how proud is that?
Regardless of the politics of marketing, or vice versa, this is an ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL FILM! Please see it. I get it on Netflix.
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