Petition Demands Netflix Informs Fans When It Makes Aspect Ratio Changes

Movie fans fed up with Netflix cropping their favorite features are trying to do something about it. A petition has been filed on demanding that the video rental and streaming service begin disclosing all modifications made to films being shown through the tool.

Maybe you’ve heard about these modifications? The revelatory Web site What Netflix Does points out visual chops the service does to classic movie.

Take a look at Milos Forman’s Man On the Moon before Netflix’s altering:

Man on the Moon

And after:

Man on the Moon 2

I mean, I love me some Jerry Lawler, but c'mon, Netflix! To its credit, the company actually responded to the controversy, stating in an email to The Huffington Post:

"We want to offer the best picture and provide the original aspect ratio of any title on Netflix," said Netflix spokesman Joris Evers. "However, unfortunately our quality controls sometimes fail and we end up offering the wrong version of a title. When we discover this error, we replace that title as soon as possible."

Now, on to the petition. The official-sounding Yankee Rose is demanding that Netflix disclose any edits it’s making to the film its customers are watching. In a nutshell, Yankee Rose wants viewers to be made aware when changes are occurring. Seems fair. Rose sounds like an industry insider, deeply concerned with the aspect ratios of presented films, stating in the Change petition:

Wouldn't it be nice to know which foods you spend your hard-earned money on has any GMO ingredients in them? This petition may not alleviate that unfortunate subject matter, BUT we can do something about films getting modified!!!!Simply, it would be nice to know if the films and shows we watch via Netflix have been modified in any way so that if we the viewer/subscriber/consumer who wants to watch the films or shows in its original format, can look for other avenues to do so. … All I'm wanting here is that Netflix will let us viewers/subscribers know what films and programs they present have been modified and how it's been modified, and so I don't always have to double check the movie specs on IMDB or the like.”

So it seems like this person would simply like a title card ahead of a feature or television show that says, “We messed with this to improve the visual presentation.” Which seems fair, and easy to do. But we’d love to know: Does this matter to you? Are you concerned with aspect ratios, and respecting the original image? Or do you trust in Netflix to better the visual presentation? Weigh in below with your opinions on this, and sign the petition if you want Netflix to have to act on their changes.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.