It’ll take a smarter person in a better pay grade than mine to figure out whether studios releasing Unrated DVDs is really against the Director’s Guild rules, but it seems natural to assume Hangover director Todd Phillips might have a case. After all, the studio is often going in after the fact, without director input, and changing the movie while keeping the director’s name wholesale on it.
In a recent SXSW panel, Phillips had this to say, “Warner Bros., they’ll make your movie; your movie does well, and they want to create an unrated version, which is entirely against DGA rules because it’s not your cut. And they can’t call it the ‘Director’s Cut’ – they’ll call it ‘Unrated’ or some ridiculous term. Really all it is, is about seven minutes of footage that you cut out of the movie for a reason.”
People with law degrees will most likely hash that out, but you don’t have to pass the bar to know that Unrated releases are insulting and ghoulish toward fans. The added scenes are never all that shocking, they usually make the movie drag, and there’s no real attempt to cover up the fact that it’s a craven marketing tool to make more money on a movie the studio already made people like. So hopefully there will be some sort of consequence here through the DGA. Studios might have to stop adding a scene of people eating cereal that the MPAA hasn’t seen, and selling it like it’s something hardcore. Is that even realistic? Probably not, but it’s nice to see someone take action that might result in the studios losing one of their minor moneymaking schemes.