Ridley Scott’s Prometheus is only months away, which means the film is entering the final weeks of post-production. The trailers are available, pictures are all over the Internet, and the hype is building.
But don’t get too excited. According to a recent interview with Empire Magazine, Ridley Scott is having issues with the film’s MPAA rating. Even though the entire Alien franchise has kept a steady R rating, Prometheus may see a theatrical release with a PG-13 rating.
“Right now I don’t know where we are,” Ridley Scott told Empire. “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. Essentially, it’s kinda R. The little bastards will still get in anyway, so what’s the difference? It’s not just about blood, it’s about ideas that are very stressful. I’m not an idiot, but I’ll do everything I can to get the most aggressive film I can.”
Before anyone gets all hot and bothered about the PG-13 and R rating difference, and that Ridley Scott seems to be selling out, let’s look at the official definitions and classifications for the ratings system. Ridley Scott may still be able to deliver an intense sci-fi thriller – blood, guts, death, the whole works – even with a PG-13 rating.
Taken from FilmRatings.org, here is the definitive classification for a PG-13 movie:
“Any drug use will initially require at least a PG-13 rating. More than brief nudity will require at least a PG-13 rating, but such nudity in a PG-13 rated motion picture generally will not be sexually oriented. There may be depictions of violence in a PG-13 movie, but generally not both realistic and extreme or persistent violence. A motion picture’s single use of one of the harsher sexually-derived words, though only as an expletive, initially requires at least a PG-13 rating. More than one such expletive requires an R rating, as must even one of those words used in a sexual context.”
So you can swear, but only once, and not in a sexual context. You can show a nipple, but only in passing, and not in a sexual context. You can include violence, but it cannot be “realistic and extreme or persistent violence.” (Tell that to The Hunger Games.)
All right, let’s check out the R rating classification, again from FilmRatings.org:
“An R-rated motion picture, in the view of the Rating Board, contains some adult material. An R-rated motion picture may include adult themes, adult activity, hard language, intense or persistent violence, sexually-oriented nudity, drug abuse or other elements, so that parents are counseled to take this rating very seriously. Children under 17 are not allowed to attend R-rated motion pictures unaccompanied by a parent or adult guardian. Parents are strongly urged to find out more about R-rated motion pictures in determining their suitability for their children. Generally, it is not appropriate for parents to bring their young children with them to R-rated motion pictures.”
As far as I can tell, that definition includes no restrictions. If your movie includes drug use, it’s cool. If you include a 10-minute murder scene, nice. If you want a sex scene that leads to a drug use scene and then finishes with a murder scene, more power to you!
Will Ridley Scott deliver a film as intense as Alien, even with a PG-13 rating? I don’t see why not. He’s an amazing director, and I have faith in his abilities. Am I disappointed that he may cut the rating down due to financial gains? Sure, but that’s his choice. I’ll see the movie regardless of its rating.
What about you?