Friday, July 12, 2013

"Ender's Game" Boycott

This November, Lionsgate Films will unleash Ender's Game, a big budget science fiction film based on the bestselling 1985 novel by Orson Scott Card.  Directed by Gavin Hood (the man behind X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the Academy Award winning 2005 South African film Tsotsi), the film stars Asa Buttefield (Hugo), Hailee Steinfeld, Abigal Breslin, Viola Davis and Harrison Ford and is set seventy years after a grisly alien war on Earth.  The intention, as always, is a lucrative franchise for the studio behind The Hunger Games.  But there's a controversy brewing and stirring as Geeks OUT are staging a protest to the film because of the virulently anti-gay stance of the novel's Hugo and Nebula awarding winning author, who also serves as producer on the film.  Card, a long-time critic of gay rights and vocal member of the National Organization for Marriage, was recently barred from attending the films big push at next weeks Comic-Con in San Diego, in an attempt by the studio from turning it's expensive fall movie into a larger source of debate.

Lionsgate released a statement surrounding the staged boycott of the film calling it "irrelevant."
"As proud longtime supporters of the LGBT community, champions of films ranging from Gods and Monsters to The Perks of Being a Wallflower and a company that is proud to have recognized same-sex unions and domestic partnerships within its employee benefits policies for many years, we obviously do not agree with the personal views of Orson Scott Card and those of the National Organization for Marriage. However, they are completely irrelevant to a discussion of Ender’s Game. The simple fact is that neither the underlying book nor the film itself reflect these views in any way, shape or form. On the contrary, the film not only transports viewers to an entertaining and action-filled world, but it does so with positive and inspiring characters who ultimately deliver an ennobling and life-affirming message. Lionsgate will continue its longstanding commitment to the LGBT community by exploring new ways we can support LGBT causes and, as part of this ongoing process, will host a benefit premiere for Ender’s Game."
It's that word "irrelevant" that may come to be the bothersome, especially in a statement that for the most part serves it's purpose of generating a quick and respectful mea culpa in the wake of a boycott of one of the studios biggest and most ambitious properties and in the wake of the Supreme Court's recent groundbreaking overturning of DOMA and California's Proposition 8.  Yet it also serves as another component in the idea of whether consumers are willing to overlook the personal platforms of various artists and judging artworks on their own terms, just as well on the principle of having the right to support one's convictions, which in this case (and in most cases) revolves around to whom and what one supports with their money.  It will remain to be seen what this eventually does to the outcome of the film, which opens November 1st.    

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