Warner Bros. has shut down a campaign campaign seeking to digitally erase the rat from the ending of Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning gangster drama The Departed. Organiser Adam Sacks announced on Twitter that Warner Bros., the studio behind The Departed, was alerted to the fan campaign and took action against it. The now-deleted Kickstarter campaign, which was seeking $4,000 to hire an editor to digitally erase the rat from the ending, was taken down to comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Sacks said.
He said he could fight the measure, but doesn’t have enough funds of his own to go up against a media giant like Warner Bros. “Although we live in an era when money and copyright laws allow corporations to stop a Kickstarter, nothing can stop ideas,” Sacks said. He said there was a groundswell of support for his rat-less vision of The Departed, and he pointed out that that he wasn’t even the first person to seek to remove the rat from The Departed’s final scene.
“If there is a silver lining here (besides me not having to actually follow though on this), it’s that maybe all this online controversy about the rat will convince Warner Brothers to release a 4K Blu-Ray of The Departed,” he said. “And maybe, just maybe, they will include an alternate rat-less ending. I’m fairly confident it would make them at least an additional 4,000 dollars.”
In his video announcing the campaign, Sacks acknowledged that Warner Bros. might shut him down. “I don’t know if I’m allowed to do this,” he said at the time, adding that he was aware of the likelihood that Warner Bros. would send him a cease and desist order.
2006’s The Departed, which stars Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio, won four Oscars including overall Best Picture. The final scene shows a rat crawling across a balcony that serves as a blatant metaphor for the “rats” within the police and mob that are the focus of the movie. The use of the rat was seen as a cheesy device in an otherwise enjoyable movie.
Scorsese’s The Departed is based on the 2002 movie Infernal Affairs. A TV show based on The Departed is coming to Amazon, but it contains many differences from the movie.
Scorsese’s next mobster movie, The Irishman starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, is in the works for Netflix. The first teaser trailer premiered during the Oscars–watch it here.