To most movie fans, the rating assigned before it hits theaters is known months ahead of time, usually from the first script. The truth is a lot more surprising, since a shockingly small amount of sex, violence, or foul language can completely change a movie in the eyes of those rating. Here are 10 Famous Movies Orignally Rated R.
The Wolverine/X-Men Origins
Deadpool may have blazed an R-Rated trail for Fox’s X-Men universe, but it was one that the Wolverine was originally intended for in his solo movie series. And not pulling punches, either: one of the creators of Game of Thrones was hired to adapt the Weapon X storyline into an R-Rated solo film that did justice to the hero’s roots – and skills. But as Hugh Jackman later admitted, the studio would need a very, very good reason to cut out every Wolverine fan under the age of 18. And at the time, they didn’t have it.
Nobody would call this historical fiction gory, but a single scene almost sliced its audience considerably -the now famous sketching of Kate Winslet’s ‘Rose’, drawn naked like one of Jack’s French girls. The MPAA issued the movie an R Rating for the nudity, but when director James Cameron appealed, saying there was actually nothing sexual or vulgar about the scene, they agreed – and the first billion dollar box office followed.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
It’s hard to imagine a story of kids being forced to fight each other to the death ever NOT getting an R Rating, but the Hunger Games somehow pulled it off. They almost didn’t for the sequel, either. But the change required is a pretty good case of how weird the MPAA’s demands can get. Instead of one Tribute taking a spear to the face – R-Rated – he took it to the chest – PG-13.
No comic fan will forget the first time they saw Spider-Man the movie, since it helped kick off the superhero craze we’re living in. Plenty doubted Tobey Maguire in the role, but he earned his stripes by the final fight – a knock down, drag out brawl against Green Goblin. It was a little too graphic at first, including razor-sharp pumpkin drones slicing Peter up throughout the fight. They were cut, and the blood coming from Peter’s mouth was digitally removed, and all was well.
The cult hit didn’t need too much sex to win over audiences, but the original Mean Girls went for a R-Rating at full speed. Plans to have Karen deliver her final weather report topless, a sex scene between Regina and Aaron, and references that had to be dubbed over in the final cut helped it reach the PG level – and probably for the best.
Twilight: Breaking Dawn
Some people might think of vampires as less than human, but the ratings board definitely doesn’t. The massive fight sequence at the end of the final Twilight movie saw dozens of vampires being torn apart, beheaded, and otherwise killed – enough for an R Rating. Knowing how much of the fan base that would cut out of the box office, some kills were left off-screen, and the sound effects were softened, or removed completely.
In the world of cult hits, Galaxy Quest really is in a league of its own, as basically the most expensive Star Trek tribute movie ever made. But the original plan for dropping TV actors into actual space battles was even more adult: not much violence, and maybe a bit of sexual content – but it was the profanity that earned the movie its original R Rating. As fun as it would have been to see the star-studded cast swearing up a storm, some dubbed lines made sure ti reached the biggest audience.
We know what you’re thinking: the story of Earth’s mightiest superheroes battling alien weirdos was deemed too adult for the young audiences being targeted? It was actually just a single scene, a single shot really, that got the R Rating: the death of Agent Coulson. A little less blade and a little less blood was all the rating board needed to approve it for the whole family.