Delta Restoring Same-Sex Love Scenes to ‘Booksmart,’ ‘Rocketman’ In-Flight Movies

Bowing to social media pressure, Delta Air Lines said it would restore same-sex love scenes edited out of two feature-length movies, Booksmart and Rocketman, available on its flights.

“We are immediately putting a new process in place for managing content available through Delta’s in-flight entertainment,” Delta said in a media statement.

Delta’s hub city Atlanta has one of the largest gay populations in the country, including one of the most politically active.

The statement said studios typically provide in-flight movies in a theatrical, original version and an edited version.

“We selected the edited version and now realize content well within our guidelines was unnecessarily excluded from both films,” read the statement. “We are working to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

The controversy arose this week after actress Olivia Wilde took to Twitter to voice her surprise that Delta was screening a version of her directorial debut, Booksmart, about two female coming-of-age high school teens, had omitted all gay references.

“Turns out some airlines work with a third-party company that edits the movie based on what they deem inappropriate. Which, in our case, is … female sexuality?” Wilde tweeted Oct. 30.

Separately, Buzzfeed reported Delta had also restored all gay references in Elton John biopic Rocketman, starring Taron Egerton.

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“The studio has agreed to provide a special Delta edit that retains the LGBTQ+ love scenes in both Booksmart and Rocketman that will be on our flights as soon as possible,” Delta said. “Currently, we have Gentleman Jack, Imagine Me and You, and Moonlight onboard and countless content in the past that clearly shows it is not our practice to omit LGBTQ+ love scenes.”

Merchandising: The Secret Life of Retail Exclusives

The big three retailers offered a slew of exclusives for several of the new home video releases on Aug. 27.

For Universal’s animated The Secret Life of Pets 2, Walmart offered the Blu-ray combo pack as a $27.96 gift set that included two Funko Pocket Pop! keychains.

Target offered a $26.99 Blu-ray gift set with “Gallery Book” packaging.

Best Buy had the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray of the animated sequel in Steelbook packaging for $32.99.

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For Warner’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Best Buy had the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray in Steelbook packaging for $34.99, and an exclusive 3D/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital combo pack for $29.99 (the wide 3D release doesn’t include the DVD).

Best Buy also offered the Rocketman 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray in Steelbook packaging for $32.99.

Target is offering a free $5 gift card with purchase of Rocketman and the CD soundtrack, which is offered at $13.99 with two exclusive songs. The disc of the movie is available at $17.99 for the DVD, $22.99 for the Blu-ray, and $27.99 for the 4K Blu-ray.

Walmart is selling a $29.96 three-film “John Wick” collection that contains Blu-rays of the first two movies and a digital copy of the third film to watch on Vudu.

‘Rocketman’ Returns to Dodger Stadium

Paramount Home Entertainment on Aug. 25 hosted a Rocketman-themed night at Dodger Stadium to commemorate Elton John’s historic concert there in 1975 — and to promote the film’s Aug. 27 release on Blu-ray disc and DVD. Bernie Taupin, Elton John’s long-time lyricist, and Jamie Bell, who portrays Taupin the film, were there to celebrate.  Rocketman has been available for digital purchase since Aug. 6. The film grossed nearly $100 million at the domestic box office, making it the second successful rock ‘n’ roll movie (after Bohemian Rhapsody) over the past nine months to appear in theaters and then become available for home viewing.

Paramount Ups Q3 Home Entertainment Revenue 35%

Paramount Home Entertainment Aug. 8 reported third-quarter (June 30) revenue of $161 million on sales of packaged media and digital content, which marked a 35% increase from revenue of $119 million in the previous-year period.

The tally — driven by the retail release of Bumblebee — was 6% more than theatrical revenue of $152 million.

While theatrical revenue reflected the strong box office performance of Rocketman ($185 million) and Pet Sematary ($54.7 million), it was significantly offset by performance of A Quiet Place in the prior-year quarter

Through nine months of the fiscal year, home entertainment revenue is up 6% at $493 million compared to $465 million in the last fiscal year.

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Home entertainment continues to lead Paramount’s theatrical box office year-to-date ($473 million) by more than 4%.

With parent Viacom recently acquiring ad-supported VOD service Pluto TV, Paramount has significantly increased licensing content to the service, in addition to third-party distributors.

License revenue increased nearly 29% to $521 million from $404 million last year driven by monetization of the library and growth in TV production. Through the fiscal year, license revenue has topped $1.05 billion.

Regardless, total studio operating income increased $41 million to $85 million — the 10th consecutive quarterly uptick.

“Paramount’s momentum continues, keeping us on track to deliver full year profitability,” Viacom CEO Bob Bakish said in a statement.