Peter Jackson's The Hobbit series has always featured violent battles and exhilarating carnage, but never anything unsuitable for the whole family - that could all change very soon. According to a recent announcement in anticipation of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies coming to DVD and Blu-ray, the extended version of the film will include the R-rated cut of the film.
Warner Bros. spoke out on the change, noting that the "Extended Edition" home release for The Battle of the Five Armies features "some violence" not present in the original theatrical release of the film. As the final installment of The Hobbit franchise, the added violence likely comes as a desire to better convey the gravity of danger faced by the protagonists, and establish the stakes of the battle.
The increased violence should come as no surprise to longtime fans of Jackson's work. While he may have become a worldwide phenomenon due to his work in Middle Earth, the New Zealand-born filmmaker began his career making darkly humorous films, such as the cult-classic Braindead. These films were characterized by immense amounts of body horror and bloody gore, and would become charmingly referred to as Jackson's "splatter phase." In recent years, Jackson also produced the surprise sci-fi epic District 9, which set itself apart from his own Hollywood projects for its absurdly violent content.
The rating change will make the financial performance of the film interesting to watch. An R-rating casts a decidedly smaller net with regards to potential audience, and Jackson's previous forays into Middle Earth certainly benefited from their PG-13 rating. While every previous Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings movie contained violence - as many PG-13 films obviously do - it always felt sanitized and safe for all members of a family to partake in.
That being said, Warner Bros. have already reaped a considerable profit off of Jackson's directorial efforts. The Hobbit franchise has raked in almost $3 billion over the last three years - and that doesn't even take the success of The Lord of the Rings into account. Given that, The Battle of the Five Armies Warner Bros. may have simply granted Jackson carte blanche with regards to visual storytelling.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition DVD and Blu-ray will hit stores November 17, 2015.
Source: The Wrap