'The Avengers' UK DVD Release Creates Controversy
No Whedon Commentary Track, Censorship of Key Scene
Published: 09/19/2012, Last Updated: 09/20/2012 04:53am
British fans who made Joss Whedon’s The Avengers the 2nd-highest grossing film in the UK this year so far may have thought that they scored some kind of coup when Disney announced that The Avengers DVD and Blu-ray home entertainment discs would be released 8 days earlier in Blighty than here in the U.S., where it comes out next Tuesday (Sept. 25th). But the early home entertainment release in Great Britain has created a potent backlash with fans unhappy over the lack of a commentary track from Whedon and the apparent censorship of a key scene. So far the Amazon UK site has received 111 one-star reviews out of 243 comments on the film, a percentage of derogatory comments that is unheard of for a movie that proved to be so popular in theaters.
According to Variety, a Disney UK spokesperson indicated that Whedon’s commentary track, which will be included on the American release, was finished too late to make the production date for the earlier UK release. The other key fan complaint concerns the tip of a spear which emerges from the chest of one of the film’s characters after he has been stabbed in the back. This shot was included in the theatrical version screened in the UK, but has been cut from the home entertainment release, which contains a less graphic depiction of the interaction between Agent Coulsen and Loki. A post-credits scene that will be included in the U.S. version is also reportedly missing from the UK release.
How will this controversy affect sales of The Avengers on disc in the UK where it was expected to be one of the top home entertainment releases of the year? It is hard to tell. Disney has rejected creating a new UK home entertainment release of the film for fear of being accused of double-dipping. Instead it appears that Disney is urging fans unhappy with the UK release of the film to order the U.S. Blu-ray version, which is region-free. UK fans who don’t own Blu-ray players may be SOL because the American DVD is coded for Region 1 (and the UK is Region 2).
Of course the U.S. release of The Avengers has not been without its own controversy, which swirls around the delayed release of the 10-disc Marvel Cinematic Universe--Phase 1 Avengers Assembled set because of a lawsuit over rights to the design of the box set’s packaging (see "'Avengers' Movie Box Set Delayed By Lawsuit'").
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