NFL and the movie "Concussion," a director fights back.

NFL and the movie “Concussion,” a director fights back.

“I have seen the movie. As one who has followed, and commented on, this issue, it doesn’t appear to me many punches were pulled.” – Bob Costas

THE TRAILER has been released for Concussion from Sony Pictures Entertainment. The studio reportedly has “no major strings attached” to the NFL and is in a public relations battle with the New York Times that could send the picture out early, instead of the Christmas Day release planned.

The film is getting the same treatment that Zero Dark Thirty received, which drove me to distraction. Selma went through something similar.

The trailer is fierce, Will Smith starring.

The New York Times picked through the Sony email hack to make its case. And we all know what a track record the Times has with this sort of thing. From the Times

Mr. Landesman, who also wrote the movie, said in an interview that the email conversations do not show Sony bowing to the N.F.L., but rather trying to portray the characters and story as accurately as possible to reduce the chance that the league could attack the filmmakers for taking too much creative license.

He added that like many large companies, movie studios that take on controversial topics try to anticipate how their films might be criticized and prepare defenses. He confirmed that Sony lawyers deleted some material from the film, but he declined to elaborate on the cuts beyond saying that they did so to make the story “better and richer and fairer.”

Deadline did an interview with the director, who is fighting back.

LANDESMAN: There was no dialogue with the NFL on any issue. The salient point that puts to bed all this stuff: anyone who sees this movie, will understand that not only didn’t we soften this movie for anybody, the NFL or otherwise, but the opposite was true. The movie pulls no punches, compromises nothing. [Deadline]

From the NFL, via the New York Times

“We are encouraged by the ongoing focus on the critical issue of player health and safety. We have no higher priority. We all know more about this issue than we did 10 or 20 years ago. As we continue to learn more, we apply those learnings to make our game and players safer.”

Sony hasn’t had a great year, the email hacking scandal and the subsequent bombs at the box office, so the New York Times hit is particularly threatening, because it attacks the film’s core storyline.

Concussions and brutality, it’s the NFL and Americans love it. I was raised on it. Gladiatorial contests feed our lust for competition between athletes where they are secondary to the audience’s satisfaction.