WarnerMedia’s HBO Max made headlines this week when they pulled Gone With the Wind from the platform because of “racist depictions” amid the Black Lives Matter protests, and now the 1939 film has shot to the top of Amazon’s best-sellers sales chart for TV and movies.
According to Variety, Amazon bases the rankings on sales data and the movie is available for sale in two different formats. Fans can buy the 70th anniversary two-disc DVD special edition that has a price of $29.55, or they can opt for a digital HD copy on Amazon Video for $9.99. For those not interested in purchasing the film, Amazon also offers a rental option for $3.99.
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) June 12, 2020
Gone With the Wind also made its way to the top ten in the Apple iTunes movie chart in the United States, landing at number five behind The Hunt, Birds of Prey, Bad Boys for Life, and The Invisible Man.
WarnerMedia announced on Tuesday that they were temporarily removing Gone With the Wind from the HBO Max streaming service, but it will soon be back with some added features. When the Oscar-winning film returns to the platform, a discussion about the historical context for the movie will be added, along with a “denouncement” of the movie’s racist stereotypes.
“Gone With The Wind is a product of its time and depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American society,” said an HBO Max spokesperson. “These racist depictions were wrong then and are wrong today, and we felt that to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible.”
The spokesperson added that these depictions are counter to WarnerMedia’s values, and that is why they chose to remove the film temporarily. When it returns, the movie will be presented “as it was originally created” because changing it would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed.
“If we are to create a more just, equitable and inclusive future, we must first acknowledge and understand our history,” said the spokesperson.
“Where do you draw the line?”
HBO Max has temporarily removed "Gone With the Wind" from its streaming library to add historical context to the 1939 film long criticized for romanticizing slavery and the Civil War-era South. More @business: https://t.co/Sb54jp4r9a pic.twitter.com/LDCOGxVXzv
— Bloomberg QuickTake (@QuickTake) June 12, 2020
Amazon’s website describes the film as a “classic epic of the American South” that is set during the Civil War and the Reconstruction era, and it is based on Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel. However, 12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley argued in a Los Angeles Times op-ed that the film perpetuates racial stereotypes while glorifying the antebellum South.
The film – which is number four on the American Film Institute’s list of the best American movies of all time – stars Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Olivia de Havilland, and Hattie McDaniel.
The film actually marks a major moment in history, as McDaniel was the first African-American woman to win an Oscar for her role in Gone With the Wind. Adjusted for inflation, the film still holds the record at the box office as the highest-grossing movie of all time.
HBO Max’s decision to temporarily pull Gone With the Wind has sparked a debate on social media. Considering the current political climate, many are asking where the line should be drawn when it comes to American pop culture history. Should TV shows and movies made decades ago that are now considered to have offensive content be up for cancellation? Or, should they be viewed, critiqued, and learned from?