I don’t envy Summit Entertainment or the makers of the Ender’s Game movie. I’m sure they all want to make the very best version of Orson Scott Card’s acclaimed novel that they can, but the project has been continuously overshadowed by Card’s outspoken anti-gay opinions and advocacy. Naturally, this means the film has been surrounded by controversy, with campaigns leveraging social media to try and encourage the public to boycott the movie so as to ensure Card doesn’t profit from it. But what if Card isn’t going to make a penny off it regardless? Should the movie still be boycotted?
It might not be just a hypothetical. The folks over at The Wrap claim that “multiple sources from both inside and outside” Summit Entertainment and other companies involved with the production say the Ender’s Game movie was made under a “decade-old deal” that doesn’t grant Card any back-end profits from the film. In other words, he’s already been paid what he’s going to get paid, and whether Ender’s Game makes $200 billion or a handful of loose change, none of that money will go to Card. If that’s true — and obviously you either have to take The Wrap and their sources at their word or not — then should that change the minds of potential boycotters?
After all, the downside of boycotting the movie is that it will negatively affect all the hard-working people who just really want to make a good Ender’s Game movie. Maybe they succeeded at that task and maybe they didn’t — we’ll find out on Friday — but it’d be a shame for those people to have their hard work discounted and penalized because they find themselves in the middle of a moral squabble they didn’t ask to join. Of course, the folks in favor of the boycott would counter that that’s not the point — the point is that some things demand people of conscience to make a stand against them, and it’s not like Card’s feelings or statements have only come to light recently. They knew Card’s reputation would be an issue from the start, so they can’t complain about getting caught in the crosshairs now.
If you are in the camp that thinks a boycott is something that needs to happen, The Wrap suggests a more productive approach would be to boycott the book itself. Card does profit nicely from sales of the novel, and it’s currently sitting atop the New York Times Bestseller List. Assuming The Wrap’s claims are true, not buying the book would hurt Card’s pocketbook a lot more than not buying a ticket to the movie.
Honestly, it’s a complex issue with no clear-cut, easy answers. I absolutely understand the folks who see this as a moral issue, but I also think on some level the movie should be judged on its own merits — or lack of them — rather than the tangential baggage the source material brings along with it. And let’s face it: I guarantee something you’ve paid for in the past has benefited a cause you don’t like, in one way or another. It’s just a lot more out in the open with Card and Ender’s Game.
What do you think? Is your decision to boycott or not boycott Ender’s Game changed by the possibility that Card won’t make any money off it? Sound off in the comments below…but do try to keep it as cordial as possible, folks.