I was surprised today to stumble across 10 listings on Amazon for Universal Studios movies on DVD listed specifically as “Family Friendly Versions”. The DVDs are all manufactured on demand (created only when ordered) and listed at $14.98 each. Titles include The Hulk, The Mummy, Bruce Almighty, Mamma Mia! (the Abba musical), and the cheerleader flick Bring It On.
I’m very curious as to what material needed to be removed from these particular films to make them “family friendly” — language? sexual innuendo? violence? (doubt it, they never worry about that) — but there are no specifics available. When you’re talking about “objectionable content”, I always wonder, “objectionable to whom?”
This case is even more interesting to me when I note that over the past five years, studios have taken legal action to shut down third-party companies that were offering these kinds of edited films. To see a studio doing its own product… on the one hand, there’s clearly some kind of desire for it, but on the other, if you think your movie is too violent or sexy or foul-mouthed, why did you release it that way in the first place?
I couldn’t find any kind of product line announcement or press release on this effort, so if you know anything about it, I’d love to find out more.