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C'mon Hollywood: Have faith in Prometheus!

04.17.2012

Listen FOX... I could not have been more pumped for PROMETHEUS, it was one of my most anticipated films of the year, right up there with THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, THE MASTER and DJANGO UNCHAINED. I could not buy a ticket fast enough...

BUT, the longer this rating shit holds out, the less likely it is I'll be seeing it in theaters. If PROMETHEUS receives a PG-13 rating, you can bet my first viewing will be with the extended edition BLU-RAY, which I'll borrow or rent for a dollar from those red vending machines at my grocery store. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a gore hound. I'm not asking for more blood. I'm asking for Ridley Scott's vision and even he agrees that it SHOULD BE RATED R.

At a recent press event in London, Scott explained his point of view: "The question is, do you go for the PG-13, or do you go for what it should be, which is R? Financially it makes quite a difference, or the risk makes quite a difference, and yet you also have to apply the question -- if you soften it, will you financially suffer? As opposed to just going for the throat and gambling." He later added "Were running at one hour and fifty nine minutes and change. In this instance, you've got a pretty good version here, a pretty good cut."

So... What kind of answer is that? Ridley can be pretty modest at times, but when he's speaking about his films THEATRICAL RELEASE, "a pretty good version" doesn't exactly convey a lot of confidence. This continuing PROMETHEUS rating debate is weird to me because I was under the impression they solved this before production even began... There were reports that Scott wanted $250 million dollars and an R rating and FOX contested that, stipulating that $250 million dollars is not worth the investment of a movie that's rated R, so they met in the middle and decided to let him have his R rating with a hundred million dollars less to play with... is this not the case anymore?

Now, I understand a part of this is attributed to something bigger than the way Fox is handling this specific film. In the 80's rated R movies made up 41.3% of the total domestic annual income in the box office. That number decreased only slightly in the 90s with 40.6%... Then we get to the 2000s, where only 24.7% of their annual income came from rated R movies. With studios relying more and more on $200 million+ event movies and less on a larger selection of modestly budgeted movies, these numbers make some sense. Studios, however rationalize the general dwindling box office during this period by pointing the finger at home video, where the viewing experience became more and more cinematic with DVD's, Blu-Rays and affordable large widescreen TV's. While there is truth to that, the pendulum swings both ways. Between half an hour of commercials and trailers before the film actually starts, being sold extra channels we don't want but can't avoid (3D), digital projection and now this softer edit bullshit that feels no different than a made-for-TV cut it's safe to say the theatrical experience is becoming more and more like television... All of that though is just ONE problem.

To me the more glaring issue when it comes to studios and their ultimate rating decision is how it appears to the general public. When there is just a hint of turmoil between the studio and the director, the MPAA and studio, the theater chains and producers or whoever... we are painted a picture that whatever the hell ultimately ends up on the big screen won't be the intended vision of what everyone hoped for when they started production. Fox, ask yourself, when was the last time a Ridley Scott directors cut turned out to be inferior to a "marketable cut"? Oh right, the only one was the unnecessary re-release directors cut of ALIEN that you forced him to make. The last time you tampered with Ridley Scott's vision, you created a mess with KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, which had a fascinating directors cut and an absolutely putrid theatrical cut.

When you begin to apply the notion of softening Ridley's previous films that were intended to be Rated R it only gets worse. Could the infamous dinner scene in ALIEN have worked with a PG-13 rating? I took a stab at it below... The results are pretty horrible.  

Ratings aside, even just the public display of studios attempting to alter their product from what the director inteded it to be in order to chase a wider demographic at the box office can be disastrous, just look at JOHN CARTER. Tampering with PROMETHEUS at this late stage to ensure everyone from my grandmother to my niece can enjoy it is only asking for mediocrity. Warner Brothers recently released their MPAA rating for THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, which is being released a full month and a half after PROMETHEUS. We all knew it was going to be rated PG-13 yet this was headline news with every movie publication. Why you ask? Sure there was speculation over the "sensuality" bit, which is new for Nolan's Batman series but what really made this a headline for fans was how early it came out. The act shows WB's confidence in their filmmaker and their product. Right now there is a final edit of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES somewhere. Letting this slide until the very last minute only shows panic on your end Fox, which comes across to the general public. 

What happened to the visionary Sci-Fi project I was led to believe? The project Fox was so confident in they knew it could be it's own movie without ALIEN in the title? I sure as shit hope it's still there. PLEASE allow Scott's true vision to come to the theaters. I won't enjoy boycotting it, but the sacrifice is worth it if the first experience is the true one. I would love to be able to say that about KINGDOM OF HEAVEN and BLADE RUNNER.

Extra Tidbit: Since I brought it up, are there any theatrical cuts you actually PREFER to directors cuts?
Source: JoBlo.com

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