HBO Max Accidentally Uploads Wrong Version of R-Rated Superhero Movie

HBO Max users were surprised to find that the streaming service had replaced the original theatrical R-rated version of Birds of Prey with one that had been censored. Our sister site reported that, ahead of the movie, a message was shown that read, "This film has been modified as follows from its original version: it has been edited for content." The language and violence In the film had been noticeably toned down, including a joke shirt that is worn by Rosie Perez that was obviously edited. 

There was outcry on Twitter over this censoring down to a TV-14 level, with many people pointing out the hypocrisy considering the wanton violence and obscenity in The Suicide Squad that was released earlier this year on HBO Max. Johanna Fuentes, the head of communications at HBO's parent company WarnerMedia, took to Twitter and confirmed there are two versions of the film, a censored one for broadcast cable, and an unedited version for streaming.

"We have a version of the film that airs on broadcast cable and the unedited version of the film for streaming which has been up for a year (which the original post on CBR noted). Will be updated on Max," Fuentes tweeted. She also confirmed that only the original uncensored version will be available to stream in the future. However, it's unclear when that will be. The official HBO Max Help Twitter account addressed the issue. "Right now we have no information when we will get the unedited version of Birds of Prey," they wrote. "And it may just change with no fanfare at all."


Ultimately, this seems to be an error instead of a willful decision to censor. CBR pointed out that this isn't the first time that this has happened to a streaming service. Last year, Netflix accidentally uploaded the TV edit of Back to the Future Part II, which edits out a brief shot of Marty McFly looking at an Ooh La La magazine. "The blame is on Universal who somehow furnished Netflix an edited version of the movie," writer Bob Gale wrote in The Hollywood Reporter about the mix-up at the time. "I learned about it some 10 days ago from an eagle-eyed fan, and had the studio rectify the error. The version now running is the uncensored, unedited, original version."