Foundation Awards New Line Cinema's Edited Movies their Seal of Approval.
May 2001, Grand Rapids, Mich. (EP) -- There's good
news for every movie fan who's ever watched a film with one or two offensive
elements and thought, "Why'd they put that in there?" The Dove
Foundation, an advocacy group for wholesome family entertainment, has formed a
partnership with New Line Cinema to produce family-friendly version s of major
Hollywood films. The first Dove "Family-Edited" titles will be
available through retailers April 24.
"They've taken out all objectionable
content," explains Dick Rolfe, Chairman of The Dove Foundation. "Any
nudity, explicit sexual references, all profanity -- any profane references to
God or Jesus."
Are the movies watchable after all offensive
content has been excised? "Actually, you don't notice it," insists
Rolfe. "One redeeming factor about these is that the edits are often
directed by the film's director, so they're very clean and smooth. Sometimes
they're actually double-scripted, and alternate footage is used."
Cleaned-up versions of studio films are nothing
new. Airlines that feature in-flight movies have had access to such films for
years -- versions edited to be acceptable for a general audience. Television
also edits films, both for content and length.
What's new is that these edited versions are
being offered for sale to the general public. Each will carry the Dove
"Family-Edited" seal of approval on its spine and face. "New Line
has begun releasing the airline versions," explains Rolfe. "They
submitted to us several airline versions, and of those they submitted we
An edited version of "The Mask"
starring Jim Carrey was released last year as a test. It did respectable numbers
with virtually no publicity. New releases in the Dove-edited line include
"The Bachelor," "Blast from the Past," and "Lost in
Space." If these are successful, others will follow.
"Nothing speaks louder than the
pocketbook," says Rolfe. "I would encourage people to buy them, to use
them, to give them as gifts. Demand is what will speak louder than anything. If
the shelves are cleared off, then I think we have an opportunity to change the
face of marketing practices in the home video industry."
For now only videos are available, but Rolfe is
intrigued with the possibilities inherent in DVDs. Most DVD players include a
control feature that allows parents to limit the ratings of movies that can be
viewed. In theory, a DVD move could ship with more than one rating, with the
appropriately rated version showing by default in a player that's had a limit
Some film aficionados complain that
family-friendly editing compromises the artistic integrity of a movie. However,
Rolfe notes that movies are already edited for airlines and broadcasters.
"The whole 'artistic integrity' argument is a weak one, considering that
for the right amount of money even some of the purists will edit their
The debut of Dove-edited versions of films is the
realization of a long-standing dream for Rolfe, who began talking with studios
about the concept nearly a decade ago. At the time, video sales were so
lucrative that studios saw little need to change their practices. Now that video
sales have leveled off, studios are looking twice at a project that could
broaden a film's appeal to include a new audience. "It should be profitable
because the product is already in the can, so to speak," Rolfe explains.
"The only thing necessary is to release it to the general public, so it's
just a matter of packaging and promotion."