“Ender’s Game” is a controversial movie for all the wrong reasons. As Jergen Hemlock reports, it is at risk of losing at the box office because the work it originates from is by Orson Scott Card, known as much for his science fiction as for his anti-gay comments.
Report by Jergen Hemlock
Orson Scott Card’s science fiction series “Ender’s Game” is a bestselling success, but its film faces boycotts due to homophobic remarks by the book’s author.
The activist group Geeks OUT launched the website skipendersgame.com to announce its boycott and encourage others to avoid seeing the movie in theaters. Card’s history of anti-gay personal views caused the public backlash leading to the boycotts. The site quotes remarks made by Card in 1990 supporting anti-gay marriage legislation, the LA Times reports. Card made similar comments in 2009, in the Mormon Times and is also active with the National Organization for Marriage where he sits on the board of directors.
Even though Card is the author of the original “Ender’s Game” books and not the movie (written and directed by Gavin Hood), he does have a role as producer on the film. So the movie’s box office success does put money in Card’s pockets. Lionsgate, the movie’s production company, made an attempt to distance itself from Card and his views by claiming them “completely irrelevant” to the movie and show the company’s support for the LGBT community.
Card also released a statement through Entertainment Weekly responding to the boycotts, but stood behind his previous beliefs and statements. He encouraged others who are supporters of gay marriage to be “more tolerant” of others like him with opposing viewpoints.
“Ender’s Game” isn’t the first movie to face threats of boycotts. In 2006, Dan Brown’s bestselling novel “The Da Vinci Code” was made into a movie starring Tom Hanks. Though the movie now plays regularly on TV networks through http://www.directstartv.com, Vatican officials urged people not to see the movie due to its negative commentary on the Catholic church. The boycotts did not hinder the movie’s success, though. It earned more than $750 million worldwide.
But unlike “The Da Vinci Code,” “Ender’s Game” has a positive message that actually opposes its author’s personal viewpoints. Its protagonist, Ender Wiggins, a young boy recruited by the military to lead in an ongoing war, often speaks of a world that is peaceful and tolerant. The theme is prominent in the book’s storyline. This will likely prompt some to see the movie despite Card’s comments.
“Ender’s Game” will hit theaters on November 1, plenty of time for the boycott threats to cool off. An effective boycott could force Orson Scott Card to take a new look at his own viewpoint, but since it’s one he’s had for decades, that doesn’t seem likely. Perhaps if Card goes to see the movie himself, he might absorb some of of the positive message from his own character, Ender.
About the author: Jergen Hemlock is a European transplant who loves to write about entertainment and theatre.