Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (LGF:US) disavowed “Ender’s Game” author Orson Scott Card’s opposition to gay marriage, saying his opinions are “irrelevant” to the movie based on his science-fiction novel.
Lions Gate, maker of the “Hunger Games” and “Twilight Saga” pictures, responded to calls for a boycott of the forthcoming movie with a statement yesterday citing a longtime policy of offering benefits to same-sex unions and the distribution of critically praised, gay-themed films including the Oscar-winning “Gods and Monsters.”
The website Geeksout.org is urging a boycott of the movie, scheduled for release on Nov. 1, starting a debate that is dominating discussion of the film. Card is an outspoken critic of same-sex marriage, saying in a 2008 newspaper article in the Deseret News of Salt Lake City that legalization would mark “the end of democracy in America.”
“We obviously do not agree with the personal views of Orson Scott Card,” Lions Gate said. “They are completely irrelevant to a discussion of ‘Ender’s Game.’ The simple fact is that neither the underlying book nor the film itself reflect these views in any way, shape or form.”
The book is the first in a series about Ender Wiggin, a boy recruited to become a leader of elite warriors who fight hostile aliens. Published in 1985, “Ender’s Game” won both the Hugo and Nebula awards for best science-fiction novel. With its focus on tactics and leadership, the novel is on the Marine Corps’ recommended reading list for enlisted personnel.
“Ender’s Game” the movie represents a key plank of Lions Gate’s strategy to expand its library of franchises aimed at teens and young adults. The film stars Asa Butterfield as Wiggin and Harrison Ford as the military officer who mentors him.
The film delivers an “ennobling and life-affirming message,” Lions Gate said in its statement. The studio, run from Santa Monica, California, also pledged to host a benefit premiere of the film to support gay and lesbian causes.
“‘Ender’s Game’ is set more than a century in the future and has nothing to do with political issues that did not exist when the book was written in 1984,” Card said in a statement earlier this week on Entertainment Weekly’s website. “With the recent Supreme Court ruling, the gay marriage issue becomes moot,” he said.
Card’s agent, Wendi Niad, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
“Ender’s Game” is scheduled to open three weeks ahead of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” the second of four planned Lions Gate movies based on the Suzanne Collins novels.
Prospects for the company’s new films, and its other potential franchises, including “Divergent,” scheduled for release next year, have helped the stock to more than double in the past 12 months. The shares rose 3.4 percent to $32.89 at the close in New York yesterday.
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