Pride director defends US DVD cover as 'clumsy but valid' after gay references are removed

Matthew Warchus says the aim is to 'find a mainstream audience' with the film

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

The director of Pride has defended controversial US marketing of the gay rights movie after references to its subject matter were removed from DVD covers.

Wording was changed to take out a reference to “gay and lesbian activists” and a banner reading “Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners” no longer appears on the back.

But while Matthew Warchus admits the promotional strategy was “clumsy and a bit foolish”, he also thinks it is “valid”.

“This is a film that is loved by people of all political persuasions and sexual orientations,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live. “I’m just keen for as many people who have yet to see the film to see it.”

The British filmmaker, 48, added that he “didn’t want to preach to the converted” but instead hopes to “find a mainstream audience and broaden people’s minds”.

“I think someone in the marketing department in the US used their marketing judgement to try to remove any barrier to the widest possible audience,” he said. “It’s clumsily done but I understand it and it’s a valid instinct.”

The back cover of the US Pride DVD, with all gay references removed

CBS Films is reportedly “looking into” why gay references were removed from the US DVD cover but points out that its website still carries the original synopsis.

Pride is inspired by an extraordinary true story. It’s the summer of 1984, Margaret Thatcher is in power and the National Union of Mineworkers is on strike, prompting a London-based group of gay and lesbian activists to raise money to support the strikers’ families,” it reads.

“Initially rebuffed by the Union, the group identifies a tiny mining village in Wales and sets off to make their donation in person.”

CBS Films has also since tweeted a Los Angeles Times review of Pride, explicitly mentioning its theme of “gay and lesbian support for striking Welsh miners in the Eighties”.

Pride was awarded Best Film at the British Independent Film Awards, with lead stars Andrew Scott and Imelda Staunton also winning gongs. It won the Queer Palm prize at the Cannes Film Festival in May and picked up a nomination for Best Film, Comedy or Musical at the Golden Globes.



The DVD was released by Sony Pictures and CBS Films in the US on 23 December and will reach UK stores in March.

Elsewhere, Warchus will replace Kevin Spacey as artistic director of London’s Old Vic theatre later this year.