After leaving HBO Max on Nov. 14, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is now back on WarnerMedia's streaming service -- but the version now streaming is edited for broadcast TV standards.
The version of the Harley Quinn-centric DC superhero film now opens with a warning that reads, "This film has been modified as follows from its original version: it has been edited for content." Though the service still lists the uncut version's R rating from the MPAA for suggestive dialogue, language and violence, the R-rated content has been scrubbed from the movie, with curse words dubbed over with G-rated euphemisms and visual gags like Renee Montoya's T-shirt (which reads "I shaved my balls for this" in the original version) blurred out.
It's surprising to come across an edited-for-content version of a movie on HBO Max. HBO, the channel which gives the streaming service its name, has long been known for allowing R-rated content to air completely uncensored. This lack of editing has made HBO one of the first TV destinations for movies following their initial theatrical and home video runs, as well as allowed for mature original series like The Sopranos, Sex and the City and Game of Thrones to break new ground for television.
This edited version of Birds of Prey is the one that has been airing this month on TNT with a TV-14 rating. HBO Max streams content from throughout the WarnerMedia library, which includes both HBO and TNT among various other TV networks. Perhaps the most likely explanation for why the edited version of Birds of Prey is the version streaming is that the broadcast rights transferred from HBO Max to TNT, and as a result, HBO Max has to stream the TNT version if it is to stream the movie at all.
Including broadcast TV cuts on HBO Max would seem to violate the HBO brand, but it's not unheard of. People have reported finding edited versions of Spawn and Saw VI on the streaming service. The poster for the original Evil Dead is also altered on the service, even while the NC-17-rated horror movie streams fully uncut.
CBR has reached out to WarnerMedia for comment and has yet to receive a response at the time of publishing.
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Source: HBO Max
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