Deadpool‘s massive success as an R-rated superhero movie, whether admitted or not, was a signal to studios it’s OK to make them. First we heard about the third Wolverine film earning that rating and then, even more surprising, that the home release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice would have an R-rated cut of the upcoming superhero extravaganza.
While the film proper, hitting theaters March 25 with a runtime of two hours and 31 minutes, was rated PG-13 by the MPAA for “intense sequences of violence and action throughout, and some sensuality,” the Ultimate Edition’s extended length was not announced. As for the rating, for some reason it omits the sensuality part and is instead rated R for “sequences of violence.” MPAA illogic aside, what could the movie have possibly done to earn that rating and what other goodies are hidden in this home release?
According to Entertainment Weekly, much of the new footage expands on secondary characters and restores others left on the cutting room floor. One such secondary character is Jena Malone’s mysterious role, which Snyder confirms is neither Carrie Kelly / Robin nor Barbara Gordon / Batgirl. The director said some of the additions are fun Easter Eggs while others are spoiler-y pieces meant to set up future Justice League adventures.
“There’s one giant one that I won’t tell you about yet that speaks to what’s gonna go on in the greater Justice League universe.”
As for the rating itself, producer Charles Roven told EW that the rating is mostly semantics concerning how consistently “intense” the movie. He also downplayed whether there would be more trademark Zack Snyder slow-mo blood spatter.
“There’s not a lot of blood in our movies. The ratings board also judges their PG-13 and R ratings by what they consider to be a level of intensity and how much that intensity goes throughout the entire movie. There are some pretty intense scenes in Batman v Superman, and if they went on longer and had that same level of intensity, that might cause the ratings board to shift their rating.”
Roven also confirmed that August’s Suicide Squad will be released theatrically with a PG-13 rating.
Batman himself Ben Affleck endorsed the decision to release the R-rated director’s cut, calling it “the creative solution to a creative challenge.”
“I’m a parent of young kids, and I feel like I wouldn’t want to have a Batman v Superman that I couldn’t show to my younger kids. But on the same token, as an adult, I like to see movies that are R-rated. I think nowadays because we have so many means of distribution and ways that we can do different things.”
He said that the PG-13 theatrical cut is not going anywhere.
“You can have multiple versions and I can show my son and my daughters this movie and feel confident that the stuff isn’t too crazy, and then grownups can see larger version, [which is like] the red-band trailer. They can see the more adult version of that movie.”
Whether this will impact Affleck’s proposed Batman standalone film is unknown but, if anything, it will follow Dawn of Justice‘s pattern of a PG-13 theatrical release and an R-rated option on home video.
“These movies have definitely evolved from being comic books for children aimed at kids. Now they’re the most mainstream movies made, the most successful, the most widely viewed movies these days. Clearly there’s a big enough audience. I think it’s cool. Why not have an R-rated version that you release for download or on DVD later? I think that’s smart.”
The movie’s official synopsis reads:
Fearing the actions of a god-like super hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hits theaters March 25.