Over the past couple of weeks, whispers have been making the rounds that The Weinstein Company was pondering the possibility of cutting their critically acclaimed and Academy Award-nominated film, The King’s Speech, so that the MPAA would drop the rating from R to PG-13.
This has had fans up in arms because the only reason the movie is R-rated (which is silly to begin with) is due to a string of f-bombs by star Colin Firth, used only as a tool for trying to cure his speech impediment…which also happens to be the basis for the entire film. The scene is far too important to the film to remove, so it was said that they might even resort to — get this — bleeping a couple out in order to get their rating and expand their movie to younger audiences.
As of yesterday, this wholly confusing situation became a reality when it was announced that the Weinsteins had indeed made their changes and “muted” out the necessary words, received their PG-13, and that that version would be hitting theaters soon. It’s said that the MPAA told the studio that if three of the five f-word usages were taken care of, they’d get their rating.
Quite the buzz has grown recently around director Adam Green‘s slasher flick sequel, Hatchet II, and now an undying (fittingly) discussion is becoming all the more heated.
If you’re at all familiar movie ratings systems, you’re likely aware that the MPAA heads it all up and has been the source of much controversy over the years. Multitudes of films have struggled to get their movie down from an R rating to a PG-13, while many others have been forced to cut and trim crucial content just to find a way to reach an R rating down from the feared NC-17.
See, the problem with the system is that if this stuffy group of people who run the MPAA decide to pin your movie with an NC-17 rating, it’s not able to go into wide release because most theaters won’t touch them. This leaves you only the choice of releasing an NC-17 or unrated product in a limited amount of theaters, and that’s why you hear so much about movies having to cut down and earn that R. In a perfect world, any movie short of X-rated could be shown in most theaters, and those who are responsible for preventing minors from seeing them would do their jobs and ensure it. As it is, people can’t handle that overwhelming responsibility, and this is the way of the movie-going world.
If you had the option to watch the biggest and best new movies in your living room on the day that they were released in theaters, would you take it? Even if it meant that movie theaters would suffer greatly, and maybe even disappear?
In November of 2009, the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) submitted a request to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asking that it be allowed for new movies to be available in the comfort of people’s homes either on the day of theatrical release or sometime soon after release so that those who can’t make it out to theaters have the option to see films when they’re new.
Yesterday, the MPAA announced that the FCC had indeed approved of the request, making this future movie-watching option official. This was somewhat impossible for a while, but it looks like the deciding factor is that now there is the proper “selectable output control,” which allows for the highest-quality HD films to be offered securely. This should prevent would-be bootleggers from just using their own outputs to acquire the HD-quality films illegally from home.