Show Dogs was supposed to be a fun movie to give families something to enjoy while the theaters were full of comic book superheroes, but some controversy is leading to the film being edited while still in theaters. Two controversial scenes are being removed from the film following an outcry from mommy bloggers and other groups who felt the scenes in the PG-rated movie were inappropriate for children.
The sequences in question involve police dog Max, voiced by Ludacris, who is undercover at a dog show. As part of the judging process Max has his genitals touched by a judge, and while initially, apprehensive about it, he eventually becomes comfortable with it. While the judging sequence is fairly accurate to what actually goes on at dog shows, the issue for those concerned is not the act of touching, but the fact that the character eventually becomes comfortable with it. They feel that it potentially sends the wrong message to the children in the audience that it's ok to become comfortable with such touching. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation went so far as to claim the scene "grooms children for sexual abuse."
Originally, studio Global Road responded to the controversy by simply saying that the judging scenes were handled accurately and were only meant to be comedic, offering an apology to those who felt it sent the wrong message, but clearly not intending to make any changes. However, after continuing pressure, the studio has now made the decision to edit out the two offending scenes.
The additional response is likely due to pressure being put not on the studio, but rather on movie theaters. The Cineplex chain in Australia had actually pulled Show Dogs from all of its locations, and the National Center on Sexual Exploitation had called upon major U.S. chains AMC and Regal to do the same. By removing the scenes from the film, the studio will likely prevent the film from losing additional screens and may help it get back into theaters where it had been pulled. Show Dogs will need whatever help it can get. It opened last weekend in sixth place with an anemic domestic box office of just over $6 million. Its current global take is just over $8 million.
In the more recent statement, (via Deadline) Global Road apologizes to those who feel the original cut of the film sent an inappropriate message and says they take providing entertainment for the intended audience, based on film rating, very seriously.
The new cut of Show Dogs will hit this weekend, so more than likely the original cut of the film is still in theaters today, with the change over set for Friday.