North Texas Daily

Companies should avoid editing media post-release

Companies should avoid editing media post-release

Companies should avoid editing media post-release
November 19
12:00 2022

Whether it’s altering dialogue or erasing entire episodes, studios can change content at any time they desire.

Altering digital-exclusive media after it is released seems harmless on a surface level. After all, one can simply grab a physical version of their favorite piece of media. Yet ultimately, these alterations prove to be nothing but damaging to how media is consumed.

Making changes to shows and films because of continuity errors and poor reception shows how impulsive studios are when they are backed into a corner.

Take for example Marvel’s ‘Thor: Love and Thunder.’ When the film hit theaters over the summer, with fans and critics alike disliking the God of Thunder’s newest film. The movie was bashed for its lackluster visual effects, to the point where some of the scenes created unintentional laughter. 

One scene in particular included a character named Axl giving an important message to Thor via a floating head. The visual effect became an instant meme on the internet. Disney didn’t take kindly to this criticism, and according to Comic Book Reporter, they did everything possible to improve the visual effects before the film hit Disney+ later in the year. 

This is detrimental for visual effects artists, who are already mistreated by big studios like Disney. A Den of Geek article highlighted all the aired-out frustrations from visual effects teams working with Marvel Studios.

Calling these teams back to work after they have already been rushed and underpaid just so the film can look a little bit better on a streaming service is textbook bullying by a big studio. Not to mention calling them back to touch up their work on the film insinuates a poor quality of work.

Sometimes changes are necessary. Streaming services have been editing out scenes in their shows that include offensive material like Blackface. Peacock edited a scene in “The Office” in which an actor wears Blackface, keeping the rest of the episode the way it was. Netflix and Hulu removed an entire episode of the show “Community” from their services because of the same situation. 

There is no room for hurtful stereotypes in any type of media, so altering scenes to keep offensive material out is always going to be beneficial. There is a clear difference between changing what is available with the viewers in mind, like removing offensive material, and changing what is available with the studio in mind, like altering visual effects to make the product look better.

Nobody knows where physical and digital media will stand ten years from now, but it is safe to say consumers might never have a say in their final destination. Some may argue that editing media after its release is beneficial to the quality of the product, but changes should be made before the initial release.

Making changes after something is released just shows these studios knew they could have changed what they were making from the beginning. Audience pushback sends these billion-dollar companies into a panic, forcing underpaid workers to do whatever is asked of them, all for the sake of better reception.

A solution is simple. We see alternate cuts and versions of media all the time. Sometimes those alternate cuts are completely different from their original.

Leave the unaltered versions available for those who prefer its original form. If studios want to spend millions of dollars making changes to their products after being released, they can spend time cutting together something that feels more satisfactory to them.

This situation is far away from turning into a major problem, but knowing a studio can just change something to be completely different overnight should not sit right with anyone. There is no reason to give big studios more power than they already have.

We are even starting to reach a point where people are becoming more aware of how this power dynamic is becoming hurtful to everyone involved. We are the consumers, and we should have a say in how the products we are buying are handled. 

Featured Illustration by Isabella Isquierado

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Jaden Oberkrom

Jaden Oberkrom

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