When it comes to big summer movies, R-ratings can be a bit of a risk. From a business point of view, it all comes down to numbers. These are the kinds of releases that studios want to reach the widest possible audience, and if you don’t aim for a PG-13, you’re already severely limiting your box office potential. That said, over the past few years it seems like there are more and more summer blockbusters accepting an R-rating and doing just fine.
This summer we already have a handful of R-rated movies lined up including Tony Scott’s remake of The Taking of Pelham 123, Michael Mann’s Public Enemies, and the Todd Phillips comedy The Hangover, plus I’m assuming Halloween 2, Inglourious Basterds and Bruno will all fall into that category as well. So what’s one more to add to the mix? The Jack Black/Michael Cera comedy Year One recently received an R-rating, and after an appeal earlier this week, the MPAA upheld their decision. In the end, producer Judd Apatow has decided to just accept the rating rather than make any further edits to the film. While it might seem like a brave call on his part, I think it was really the only way to go. Comedies and horror movies generally don’t cost that much to produce, and it’s better to leave a funny movie in tact than start messing with it. The thing is, it does leave the summer with a slight shortage of quality PG-13 comedies (Dance Flick and Land of the Lost anyone?). Which of this summer’s comedies do you think will be the most successful? Will any of the R-rated movies suffer at the box office?
Update: Well after all this talk about standing strong, it appears that Apatow and Co. caved and made the appropriate cuts to receive a PG-13 rating anyway. Sony must be pretty desperate for a PG-13 comedy this summer… even The Ugly Truth is rated R. (Thanks to RJ for the heads up.)