Censoring of video releases?

Rather than continue to hijack another thread, better to make this question a thread of its own.

I noticed when looking at the videos of certain sexy movies (Last Tango in Paris, Kama Sutra: A Love Story, and Romance), that the most explicit sex parts seen in the theatrical releases were deleted from the video.

Now, in the case of Last Tango and Romance, I rented them from Blockbuster and Blockbuster is notorious for its policy requiring that the really explicit sexy parts have to be deleted. Is that true? (Mention of Blockbuster will probably bring on the obligatory scolding not to support that company and to support your local independent video store. Well, I would sure like to, except that there aren’t any independent video stores around here, so it’s Blockbuster or nothing.)

I bought my own copy of Kama Sutra from Amazon, but found that it still had the most explicit sexy parts deleted from what I remembered in the theatrical release.

My questions:

  1. Is there a general policy of censoring the really sexy parts for the video release?
  2. If so, WHY??? If it was good enough to show on the big screen, what’s the problem with leaving it in the video?

All three movies have two different versions. Last Tango in “X” and “R”, Kama Sutra in “NC-17” and “R”, and Romance in “NR” and “R”. Amazon lists only the uncut version (“X” rated, presumably) of Last Tango, the “R” version of Kama Sutra, and the unrated version of Romance. Blockbuster.com also lists the “R” version of Kama Sutra but neither version of Last Tango and Romance.

Also, the only video store I’ve heard of with a requirement that objectional materials be edited out is an independent store in Utah.

Clarification: I believe the owner of that Utah store does the editing himself.

If the store owner is doing the editing himself, he is most likely getting frequent calls from the legal departments of several several studios, in complaint, because esentially what he is doing is creating derivitive works without the permission of the original copyright holder.

Now one thing that does go on in the video industry, is that certain large chains make it known to the studios that they have a “Family Friendly” policy, and will not carry movies that have above a certain level of explicit content. This chain will screen a video before distributing it, and if the really naughty bits are too much in the opinion of the chain, they’ll send it back with a letter saying “We’d love to carry this for you, but scenes X, Y and Z are just too much.”

Now the studio is faced with a choice: miss out on the profits from having their video distributed through one of the larger national chains, or make a new version of the video, minus scenes X, Y, and Z, and resubmit it. Often, they choose the latter of the two, as like any business, they’re in it for the money.

The issue of NC-17 or unrated material was a problem even before Blockbuster, simply because some video stores made it a policy not to carry “adult” films, i.e., anything over a R-rating. As a kid I remember Erol’s and independently owned video stores getting the R-rated versions of “Reanimator”, “The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover” and many other titles and I was pretty pissed off to be getting diluted product.

Blockbuster will occasionally stock the Unrated version instead of the tamer R-version (they did this for American Pie 2, Lord of Illusions, and a few other titles). Sadly, for most cases they’ll pick the R rated one automatically.

I don’t think Blockbuster dictates actual cuts (I’ve never heard of them doing it, anyway) but simply will screen a unrated tape to see if it’s too much for their puckered-ass standards. If it is, then they’ll ask for a R-rated version, and in that case a studio would be dealing with the MPAA over what to cut out in order to get that R rating.

Surprisingly, in the case of “Y Tu Mama Tambien”, they actually carried both the unrated and R-rated versions, which I’ve never seen them do before. Each version has a different cover and the unrated version is clearly marked.

Sorry for the hijack :smiley:

But the blockbuster I frequent only carried the R rated version,which I found out too late after renting the film.

So what exactly was cut from the original version?

Blockbuster’s loosened up a little in recent years. When American Pie first hit the shelves, they didn’t carry the unrated version.