A movie fan has been told he cannot exterminate what he considers to be a pest in "The Departed."
Adam Sacks, a video director and editor, loves Martin Scorsese's Boston crime thriller, but he has a major gripe with the final shot, in which a rat crawls into the frame. In the movie, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson, mobsters try to identify a "rat." But Sacks feels the actual rodent's presence hurts an otherwise great film.
"It's a very on-the-nose metaphor and it's completely unnecessary because the movie already worked," Sacks said last week.
In response, Sacks launched a a Kickstarter campaign to remove it digitally, asking for $4,000 to get the job done. He had hoped to burn 50 Blu-ray copies of the movie, which he would then sell only to people who had paid for the original movie, which he would dispose of and replace with his "superior" rat-less disc.
But Friday, he said he had learned the rat was there to stay.
"Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. has decided that my Kickstarter to buy 50 Blu-ray copies of their thirteen-year-old movie infringes on their intellectual copyright, just because I was going to fix the ending," he said in a tweeted statement. "In order to comply with the digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Kickstarter had no choice but to take down my project to digitally erase the rat from the end of The Departed."
He added, "I could fight this. But I checked my bank account, and I have far less money than Warner Brothers made off 'A Star Is Born' in its 21st week in theaters alone (700,000 dollars. Very impressive!)."
Slack knew from the start it was a risky venture.
"I don't know if I'm allowed to do this," he said in the video accompanying his defunct campaign. "But if I don't receive a cease and desist letter, and we hit $4,000, it will happen."
Ultimately, though, he remains hopeful.
"If there is a silver lining here (besides me not having to actually follow through on this), it's that maybe all this online controversy about a rat will convince Warner Brothers to release a 4k Blu-Ray of The Departed. And maybe, just maybe, they will include an alternate rat-less ending," he said. "I'm fairly confident it would make them at least an additional 4,000 dollars."