Today is an interesting news day for Sony Pictures’ upcoming entry into the summer blockbuster arena: Hancock. I was first tipped off to the actual tone of the film by my pal over at Movies Online, and then received further clarification after reading a post over at /Film.
So what’s so interesting?
This movie is not what you think it is, folks. Think it’s another light-hearted, funny Will Smith romp?
According to an article over at the New York Times, far from being a conventional combination of comedy and superhero flick, Hancock pushes the PG-13 envelope hard. As a matter of fact, up until three weeks ago there was a statutory rape scene in the film.
The film has been to the MPAA twice in the last month to receive a rating and both times it was given an “R.”
The goal of course, is to keep cutting away slivers of scenes until they can get it just under the bar and achieve a PG-13.
Director Peter Berg openly admits that a goal of the film is to make the film edgy and not “boring.” According to the NY Times:
“The film, he [Berg] said, remained surprisingly sexual, violent and true in spirit to an original script that was viewed as brilliant but unmakable when its creator, Vincent Ngo, first circulated it more than a decade ago under the title ‘Tonight, He Comes.'”
One of the things they had to “tone down” from the original script was a scene where Hancock gets drunk with a 12 year old. That was changed to a 17 year old and seems to be the source of the statutory rape scene mentioned above.
Sony executive Amy Pascal comments:
“It’s scary in that it goes farther than we’ve gone before”
Now before you start getting all ornery on me, I have NO problem with an edgy superhero comedy starring Will Smith. What I do have an issue with (and the studio will too, mark my words) is marketing a film as described above as a PG-13, family friendly summer comedy. It’s deceptive and it’s going to bite them in the ass, guaranteed.
“Oh, but what about ‘The Dark Knight?” THAT’s a dark movie!”
Yeah, but we know that’s going to be a dark movie based on the trailers, images and interviews. My soon-to-be 12 year old daughter has already decided she doesn’t want to see it. But Hancock? We’ve all watched the trailers together, thought it looked funny and had been planning on seeing it as a family.