Does Blockbuster Edit Their Movies?

I have heard reports that Blockbuster edits [censors] some of their movies. Some really "spicy" R-rated movies supposedly have some scenes cut to tone them down. Also, I was told that in their version of the movie, TITANIC, the scene in which Leonardo DiCaprio sketches Kate Winslet has the nudity cut out, and this movie just has a PG-13 rating. Obviously, any alteration in a movie's rental release would have to be approved by the film's distributor.

So, fact, or urban myth? I am just starting to rent movies again, and I need to know for sure. And please, let's not get into a Blockbuster bashing!
Not true. Think for a minute. Do you really think Blockbuster has the time and money to edit, burn, and package millions of copies of DVD's to put in their stores; and have them available the same day the regular copies are released? Think of the cost. And not inform the public they are doing so...

Now having said that there is a Morman group in Utah that has been fighting in court for the right to do just that; edit movies so they confirm to Morman family values.
I have seen several articles in reputable journals that state that Blockbuster DOES edit their movies. Apparently this began in the religiously conservative areas of the country, but is now a fairly standard practice with this chain. I prefer Hollywood Video to Blockbuster, but have given up on both of them and now rent almost exclusively from Netflix (which has a huge catalog, and does not edit their films).
Blockbuster does offer some edited versions of movies, but they are from the studios, not a Blockbuster creation. It would be illegal copywrite infringment for them to do it. Which is why that Morman group is in court.

Eyes Wide Shut is available in R or NC-17. It was also offered this way to theater owners. A lot of theaters won't carry NC-17 movies, but more for money reasons.
Yes, I was unclear in my wording. What I read is that Blockbuster has their movies edited for objectionable content by the studio(s) BEFORE they are burned to CD.
Sugarbrie, I meant that the editing was done by the distributors FOR Blockbuster, and not BY Blockbuster. I am not talking about cutting a rental release to get an "R" rated version from an "NC-17" film. I'm talking about cutting scenes to "clean-up" "R" or even "PG-13" films. Please see Sdcampbell's posts.

Netflix is not an option for me, since most of my rentals are spur of the moment. Unfortunately, a nearby rental store has only a limited selection of DVD's. So how can I be sure if other chains are not editing as well?

I feel that if editing is done, the DVD's should clearly be marked "edited for content" as most TV stations now do before running a movie.
If you want to see 'ol Kate in her birthday suit, check out "Holy Smoke"

I've been told by a Blockbuster employee that they have the movies edited for 'family values', but I have no official verification of that. Do you want the employee's name? :-)
Acutally I find DVDs are more and more going in the other direction. They're not edited to make them more family friendly; it is in the other direction.

A movie is R in the theater, and then comes out with an "Unrated Version" DVD. The 40 Year Old Virgin is being marketed this way on TV.

You can be sure that if they are doing it, Blockbuster is not requesting edited versions of some movies because they are into family values.
It is solely about the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

Same for the studio. Blockbusters sells and rents lots of movies. The studio will make another version in order to make more $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.
You guys can read all about it here.. It mentions Titanic.. It does not mention Blockbuster.

They only edit the movies Fatparrot rents.
While it may be picking nits: They don't edit their movies but the ones they rent are edited.
I am a big movie buff and have read for years that Blockbuster does edit their movies and I never really believed it until I recently read an article by Roger Ebert and he confirmed that they do indeed have edited versions of movies (I forget weather or not he said they actually edit them at Blockbuster or not) He stated that he will not do business with them for that reason.

This really makes me sick and is obviously just a big business decision. I agree with SDCampbell and go to Hollywood video or my local store instead.
Walmart and Blockbuster do edit their rentals and remove explicit scenes and violence. Walmart since joined with Netflix for their rental service and may no longer rent edited versions.
"This really makes me sick and is obviously just a big business decision. I agree with SDCampbell and go to Hollywood video or my local store instead."

Why on earth should this make you (or Roger Ebert) sick? I can understand you objecting if you are given an edited movie that isn't labeled as such - that should not happen. But studios edit all pictures for content before release based on marketing decisions (e.g., PG 13 has a broader audience and generally makes more money than does R). If the studio wants to release a toned down movie for Blockbuster to rent to interested customers, wonderful - I for one would like to see more such options. I can’t fathom an objection to this.
All record company's released edited versions of every type of music, song, broadway shows, operas, movie soundtrack, etc, etc.

So if you really believe you should boycott Blockbuster, then to be consistant you should also boycott all music released by all record labels.

I guess this hobby is over for you then.....LOL!

To clarify, where do they mark it? I rent a movie there and it is missing content that the director wanted in the movie and the box is not marked to show such changes. That is what I have a problem with, the hidden censorship. Sure if they want to make their movies acceptable for young children etc. that is good but have the box marked or in a special section.
As I understand it, directors usually have no control over what the ultimate commercial cut of their movies look like (hence, the Director's Cut releases). These final cuts are done by the people who pony up the dough to get the movie made in the first place (the studios).

As to saying that any changes made to the release should be clearly labeled, I agree. We have no argument.
I was in Blockbuster tonight and noticed several movies marked " Edited for content" on the outside of the box on the front.
FWIW I was in Blockbuster last night and could not find any comments about editing on any of the 'racy' movies I looked at. I imagine it changes depending what area the store is in...
I posted a question on the "contact us" part of their website. I received an automated reply that told me nothing about rentals. All they would say was that they movies they SELL are not edited. I can only assume that the rentals are edited.
Jlambrick, according to my search on their website about editing
No, BLOCKBUSTER does not edit the content of its films. We offer all movies for rental or sale the way we receive them from the studios.
This is a slick answer, because it doesn't address whether Blockbuster can ask for a tamer version of an R-rated movie, instead of the standard DVD release. With Blockbuster's financial clout, this is a real possibility. I sent them an email asking specifically about studio/distributor editing...I'll be interested to see their response...if I get one!
Yes, they do take regional considerations into account. Most outlets in California and New York don't have edited versions. Folks in the Heartland do get the 'cleaner' versions. Even though I live in an area where I don't believe the movies are edited I try real hard to avoid Blockbuster as I disagree with the policy. Use Netflix. You can't beat the library, service or price.
Unclejeff, you're a smart guy! Here is Blockbuster's email answer to my question about studio/distributor editing (censoring)
We realize that our library will include movies that are not of interest to everyone. The movies and games we carry are based on a number of factors, including customer demand. As you might imagine, we have a broad customer base and our goal is to stock titles that will appeal to a wide audience.

Blockbuster appreciates the diversity of our customer base, and we are dedicated to giving all our customers the best convenience, selection, service and value.
Like a politician, they still refused to give a direct answer to a simple question!