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Bob Greenblatt has one regret about Gone with the Wind being placed on HBO Max and subsequently pulled in response to pushback about its dated Civil War story. Outcry over 1939 controversial Oscar-winning film on the newly launched streaming service occurred amid worldwide anti-racism protests and conversations in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
The chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment said Thursday on SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Show that pulling the film was obvious, but he was disappointed it was placed on HBO Max initially without a warning or any sort of a discussion to help put the movie in context.
“It was sort of a no-brainer, I mean, we have the best of intentions obviously,” Greenblatt said of taking the movie down. “We failed to put the disclaimer in there, which sets up the issue, basically, the issues that this movie really brings up.”
The war epic starring Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Hattie McDaniel and Olivia de Havilland was under the Turner Classic Movies hub on HBO Max. Greenblatt noted when the film airs on TCM, there is a discussion about its content before or after. That was not offered on HBO Max.
“So, we took it off and we’re going to bring it back with a proper context, and it’s what we should have done,” he said. “So, I don’t regret taking it down for a second. I only wish we had put it up in the first place with the disclaimer. And we just didn’t do that.”
The WarnerMedia exec noted that TCM did an hourlong panel discussion about the film a year ago, which will be included when the movie is back on HBO Max. “So, yes, this is a complicated film, undeniably one of the most watched films of all time and most award-winning,” he said. “And it has these issues which are not insignificant. Especially, you know, in this moment in the world that we’re in right now. We really do want to put the right context around it.”
A permanent removal of the film is not the right answer, Greenblatt explained, saying “We shouldn’t deny that [controversial movies] exist, we should show them to people, but also in the right context. And, hopefully, shed some light on these issues, which you know, affected Hollywood. The last century in Hollywood, there are many darker moments on film that we need to talk about.”
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