The Public – a thing I cannot help looking upon as an enemy, and which I cannot address without feelings of hostility. – John Keats
Somewhere, deep in the heart of Lionsgate’s public relations department, there is a PR rep clutching a bottle of whiskey and mumbling that over and over again to her- or himself. The studio has been in a bit of a marketing nightmare regarding upcoming film Ender’s Game
, ever since LGBT groups remembered it was Orson Scott Card who penned the original novel, and that, considering he has spent his life actively campaigning against LGBT rights, it was their duty to start a boycott campaign against the film. For those who seem to be confused as to why the boycott is happening, it’s not a matter of hypocrisy or “being intolerant of intolerance” (as I have seen some people fallaciously argue), but a matter of LGBT people or activists not wanting their money in any way to go to a man who will then turn around and use that money to contribute to the National Organization for Marriage or other groups that work to strip gay rights, among other things. It’s a personal choice.
Regardless of how you feel about the issue, it has become exactly that for Lionsgate: An issue. And so the studio has finally weighed in on the controversy, releasing an official statement over the weekend:
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.
All of that is to be expected. It’s a fairly generic response: Distance yourself from the controversy, offer an olive branch, but remain noncommittal either way. What does surprise me, however, was that Lionsgate seemed to be blindsided by the entire fiasco in the first place, especially considering the current sociopolitical climate.
But removing the moral and political controversy from it entirely, will you see the film? Does the trailer fill you with the warm fuzzies of excitement, or leave you cold? Sound off in the comments.
Ender’s Game, starring Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, and Abigail Breslin, hits theaters on November 1st.