Pop Culture

HBO Max Replaces Censored Version of ‘Birds of Prey’ With R-Rated Original After Fan Complaints

There are few comic book movies we love more than 2020’s Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). The film has everything: a terrific cast, a women-driven story, and dynamic action sequences. And (perhaps best of all), as DC’s first R-rated film, its filled with raunchy jokes and plenty of over-the-top violence you’d expect from a Harley Quinn vehicle.

But fans were dismayed this weekend when they noticed that HBO Max was streaming a censored version of the film. Cathy Yan’s film now features the warning, “This film has been modified as follows from its original version: it has been edited for content.” The filthy jokes were scrubbed with replacements, Renee Montoya’s “I shave my balls for this” t-shirt was blurred, and several violent scenes were excised from the cut.

It’s a puzzling and bizarre move from HBO Max, whose catalogue is filled with R-rated films and explicit series like The Sopranos, Sex and the City, and countless other titles. Just weeks ago, HBO Max debuted James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, which is filled to the brim with explicit violence. Fans were quick to point out the hypocrisy of a censored Birds of Prey.

In response, a Warner Bros. spokesperson stated that HBO Max had “mistakenly” uploaded the broadcast cable version of Birds of Prey, adding that “the unedited original version will be available on HBO Max instead.” Still, it’s an upsetting reminder that streamers can easily change a director’s original vision with the stroke of a key. If ever there was an argument to keep buying DVDs and physical media, this is it.

(via IGN, image: Warner Bros.)

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