Why Judd Apatow Is So Angry About His Movies Being Censored

Judd Apatow

Sony Pictures has been causing a stir recently with its plan to release sanitized versions of some of its PG-13 and R movies so that they can be watched by kids and viewers who don't like a lot of cursing and sexual references, much like the edits made for TV or airplane screenings. While these "cleaned-up" movies would only be made available as special features on digital home releases, the initiative has drawn criticism from noteworthy names in Hollywood, including Judd Apatow. After bluntly expressing his thoughts on the matter on social media, Apatow has explained in more depth why he has a problem with Sony's censorship, saying:

Well, I don't think it's legal. I don't think they have a right to do it. When we do an edit for television, or an airline, contractually that's what it's for. You're not allowed to distribute it... [They're] overreaching. [It's] disrespectful to the filmmakers, very short-sighted for their relationships with filmmakers. Because it is the equivalent of saying, 'Oh, we're going to try to pull the violence out of The Godfather, make a version for teenagers.' And that is the most important agreement that you have with the filmmaker is you're not gonna fuck with their work.

While promoting his upcoming movie The Big Sick, Judd Apatow explained to Uproxx why he has a problem with Sony "cleaning up" two of the movies he produced for the studio, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and Step Brothers. From his perspective, Sony taking such action is not only disrespectful, but also potentially illegal because the studio didn't originally contract him and his team for such an edit. Apatow continued:

So I'm pretty shocked by it, and they did not ask for permission either. When we looked into it, there's no calls or e-mails warning us. So I find it very offensive.

Judd Apatow isn't the only person in Hollywood who doesn't like Sony's plan, as Seth Rogen and Adam McKay have expressed their dissatisfaction, too. However, in the days following the initial announcement, Sony adjusted its policy on this initiative and stated that if any directors are not happy with the studio's clean-up plan, their movies will not undergo such treatment. As a result, seven movies have been taken off the original list Sony released to the public, including Talladega Nights and Step Brothers, which McKay directed. The Adam Sandler movies Big Daddy, Grown-Ups, Grown-Ups 2, Pixels and 50 First Dates, as well as the 2015 Goosebumps movie helmed by Rob Letterman, have also been removed.

With this resolution, at least now Judd Apatow doesn't have to worry about any of his Sony content being "cleaned up," although he may hold firm on his stance when it comes to the studio censoring work from other filmmakers. Regardless, you can see Apatow's latest feature, The Big Sick, in theaters starting this Friday.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.