×
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

  • Bluebird review

    SXSW Film Review: ‘Bluebird’

    As affectionate as a love letter but as substantial as an infomercial, Brian Loschiavo’s “Bluebird” may be of most interest to casual and/or newly converted country music fans who have occasionally wondered about the songwriters behind the songs. There’s a better than even-money chance that anyone who’s a loyal and longtime aficionado of the musical [...]

  • ‘Wonder Park’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad

    ‘Wonder Park’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending for the Fourth Week in a Row

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Paramount Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the fourth week in row with “Wonder Park.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.18 million through Sunday for 1,718 national [...]

  • Michael B. Jordan Jordan Vogt-Roberts

    Film News Roundup: Michael B. Jordan, Jordan Vogt-Roberts Team for Monster Movie

    In today’s film news roundup, Michael B. Jordan is producing a creature feature, billiards champ Cisero Murphy is getting a movie, the sixth Terminator movie gets a title, and Graham King receives an honor. PROJECT UNVEILED New Regency and Michael B. Jordan’s Outlier Society are partnering on an untitled monster movie from “Kong: Skull Island” [...]

  • Nicolas Cage

    Nicolas Cage to Star in Martial Arts Actioner 'Jiu Jitsu'

    Nicolas Cage will star in the martial arts actioner “Jiu Jitsu,” based on the comic book of the same name. The cast will also include Alain Moussi, who stars in the “Kickboxer” franchise. Dimitri Logothetis is producing with Martin Barab and directing from a script he wrote with Jim McGrath. Highland Film Group is handling [...]

  • Chinese success of Thai film "Bad

    Chinese, Thai Shingles Pact for Co-Production Fund at FilMart

    A deal to establish a 100 million yuan ($14.9 million) co-production fund between China and Thailand was struck at FilMart on Tuesday to help launch TV and film projects that will appeal to Chinese and Southeast Asian audience. The deal that was struck by China’s Poly Film Investment Co., TW Capital from Thailand and Thai [...]

  • Kevin Tsujihara

    Kevin Tsujihara's Ouster Kicks Off a Week of Major Disruption in the Media Business

    The sudden ouster of Warner Bros. Entertainment chief Kevin Tsujihara kicked off what is likely to go down as one of the most extraordinary weeks in Hollywood history, spelling enormous turmoil and transition across the media landscape. In addition to the news about Tsujihara, which comes amid a wider shake-up of leadership at AT&T’s WarnerMedia, [...]

  • Buddha in Africa

    More Than Half of Films at Hot Docs Film Festival Are Directed by Women

    More than half of the films playing at Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary festival, are directed by women, the Canadian event said Tuesday. The festival’s 26th edition, which runs April 25-May 5, will screen 234 films, with 54% of the directors being women. In the competitive International Spectrum program, notable films receiving their world [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content