‘Black Adam’ Was Originally Rated R For Violence
When Black Adam opens in theaters, it will come with a PG-13 rating for, per the MPAA, “sequences of strong violence, intense action and some language.” But star Dwayne Johnson has repeatedly talked about how this movie changes he “hierarchy of power” at DC, and features a much darker hero (or really antihero) than is typical for these kinds of blockbusters.
For that reason, some fans expected the movie to be rated R. And it turns out, in its rough cuts it actually was, as Black Adam producer Beau Flynn revealed to Collider that it took “four rounds” of edits with the MPAA to get the movie down to a PG-13.
Here was how Flynn described the changes they made to secure their PG-13:
We had some really cool moments, and if you notice, there are some great moments when Black Adam is in the fly bike chase sequence and drops one of the intergang soldiers. Then there's this great moment where the truck bounces over the body. But those are moments that you need and remember in these movies, you know what I mean? You can't play it safe, and you have to go for it. And I think we have four or five of those. At one point we had about ten, and we were able to find some compromise with the MPAA on that.”
All this talk of violent deleted scenes makes me think that we could be in for some kind of Black Adam “Extended Cut” or “R-Rated Edition” on home video. The big studios need a PG-13 version for theaters to keep the potential audience as large (and the potential grosses as high) as possible. On home video, they often benefit from multiple versions (encouraging multiple sales and rentals) and catering to older fans who might want to see the movie again in a darker and more graphic version. (Flynn told Collider that including some of the cut footage is “something [they’re] talking about” for Black Adam’s home video release.)
In the meantime, the PG-13 version of Black Adam opens in theaters this Friday.