×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Netflix Will Cut ‘Bird Box’ Footage of Canadian Train-Crash Tragedy

Netflix, in an about-face after an outcry over footage in its original film “Bird Box” of the 2013 deadly train disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, said it will now remove the offending segment.

Netflix and the filmmakers of ‘Bird Box’ have decided to replace the clip,” a company spokesman said in an email to Variety. “We’re sorry for any pain caused to the Lac-Mégantic community.”

Previously, Netflix had said it would not remove the footage showing the aftermath of the train crash, which killed an estimated 47 people after a freight train carrying crude oil derailed in the downtown area of the town of Lac-Mégantic. But after pressure from Canadian officials — including Quebec culture and communications minister Nathalie Roy, who in January sent an open letter to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings urging the footage to be cut — Netflix decided to remove the clip.

In a tweet Thursday, Roy (translated from French), said: “This gesture was expected out of respect for the victims of this horrific drama, their loved ones and the entire community of #LacMégantic. This result shows that by being in solidarity and by putting our efforts together, anything is possible.”

The edited version of “Bird Box” eliminating the Lac-Mégantic stock footage is expected to be updated on the service within a few weeks. That footage is being replaced with a clip from an older U.S. TV series (not stock footage); Netflix didn’t identify the TV show.

The footage of the Lac-Mégantic disaster used in “Bird Box” came from stock-footage house Pond5. In a statement, New York-based Pond5 said, “It has recently come to our attention that our footage depicting the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster was taken out of context and used in entertainment programming. We deeply regret that this happened and sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended, especially the victims and their families.” Pond5-supplied footage from the train crash also was used in the third season of Netflix’s “Travelers,” which Netflix had already agreed to remove. Pond5 also said it is contacting all customers who have purchased any related clips “to ensure they are aware of the sensitive nature of this footage.”

“Bird Box” has registered as one of Netflix’s most popular originals ever. The streamer boasted of the strong reception for the thriller, claiming 45 million member accounts watched at least 70% of Sandra Bullock-starrer in the first seven days of its Dec. 21 release. That claim was later bolstered by Nielsen data.

In “Bird Box,” Bullock plays a single mom trying to save her kid’s lives after some kind of alien creatures (not shown in the movie) descend on Earth and somehow inflict psychic trauma that causes people to kill themselves. Survivors must wear blindfolds or be exposed to supernatural entities that embody their deepest fears and drive them to suicide.

“Bird Box” is directed by Susanne Bier, based on Josh Malerman’s 2014 novel of the same name. The cast also includes Trevante Rhodes (“Moonlight”) and Bullock’s “Ocean’s 8” co-star Sarah Paulson, along with John Malkovich, Jacki Weaver, Danielle Macdonald, Lil Rel Howery, BD Wong, Machine Gun Kelly and Tom Hollander.

More Film

  • MGM logo

    MGM Hires Robert Marick to Expand Consumer Products

    Metro Goldwyn Mayer has hired industry veteran Robert Marick as executive VP of global consumer products and experiences. In his new role, Marick is responsible for overseeing the expansion of MGM’s traditional merchandise, interactive and consumer products business. He’s also developing a global strategy with a focus on core consumer products licensing, digital and gaming, [...]

  • Robert Iger and Rupert Murdochcredit: Disney

    Wall Street Applauds as Disney Nears Finish Line on Fox Acquisition

    Wall Street is rooting for Disney as the media giant reaches the finish line this week in its 15-month quest to acquire most of Rupert Murdoch’s film and TV empire. Fox shareholders, on the other hand, are being a little more cautious. Disney is poised to close the $71.3 billion deal that took many twists [...]

  • Personal Tales From Hong Kong, China

    Personal Tales From Hong Kong and China Among the Asia Film Financing Forum Projects

    A brace of personal tales from China and Hong Kong are among the 23 projects vying for attention at the 17th Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum. Liu Miaomiao is a rare female ethnic Hui Muslim filmmaker. She came to international prominence with 1993’s “Chatterbox” that won the President of the Italian Senate’s Gold Medal [...]

  • Josie Ho Makes 2019 the Year

    Josie Ho Makes 2019 the Year She Takes Risks in Her Film Choices

    Josie Ho vows to master the art of calculated risk in the year 2019. As an actress and film producer, she is conscious of the choices of projects she makes: appearing in the new film by Japanese hotshot director Shinichiro Ueda, producing a new documentary feature while developing some 10 titles in the pipeline of [...]

  • FilMart: Big Data, Content Key to

    FilMart: Big Data, Content Key to iQIYI's Online Ambitions

    Tech and data play a huge role for iQIYI, China’s second-largest streaming platform, as a way to innovate and step out ahead of its competitors, iQIYI founder and CEO Yu Gong explained in a keynote speech Monday at FilMart. “We don’t see a lot of innovation-driven entertainment companies yet. We want to be the one,” [...]

  • Ted Sarandos and Thierry Fremaux'Okja' photocall,

    Despite Ongoing Peace Talks, Netflix Won't Have Any Movies at Cannes 2019 (EXCLUSIVE)

    Although Netflix and the Cannes Film Festival continue quietly to negotiate a potential settlement to their differences, the streaming giant will be absent from the Croisette again this year with no film in or out of competition, Variety has learned. The ongoing talks between the two sides have been friendly, including a dinner in Los [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content