The Ninjabot


Posted on March 4, 2016 at 10:18 am by David "Snackbar" Edmundson


A few weeks ago, soon after the success of Deadpool sent a shockwave around Hollywood, we learned that Warner Bros. was planning an R-rated superhero movie of its own in the form of a different, more violent cut of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. This R-rated cut would be released on home video, not in theaters, but folks wondered just how, exactly, this version would differ from the theatrical cut of Zack Snyder’s superhero epic. Would this be a genuinely different cut, or was this simply a case of the studio capitalizing on another film’s success by adding in a scene or two and pulling the old “Unrated Cut!” trick? It turns out it’s actually very much the former.

Speaking with EW, Snyder calls this home video-only R-rated cut his “director’s cut” of the film, but explains he was pretty harsh when it came to trimming down the theatrical version batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice-zack-snyder-henry-cavill-600x403of Batman v Superman to a manageable length:

“We were just like, ‘Okay, look. We’re not making a three-hour movie. I mean, even I didn’t want to make a three-hour movie. I drove the cuts probably harder than anyone. The studio, they were willing to let the movie indulge pretty hard. But I felt like it’s at a manageable two-and-a-half hours. Let’s also not forget the credits are super long, the end credits. So the movie’s closer to two hours and 22 minutes.”

However, the R-rated “director’s cut” not only includes new footage, it includes entirely new characters, including a mysterious one played by Jena Malone that was cut from the theatrical version. Malone’s casting caused a bit of hubbub last year with folks theorizing she’d be filling the role of Batgirl or maybe even Robin, but Snyder asserts no one’s guessed her character yet:

“I think we should keep it private, but it’s nothing that’s been talked about. She’s definitely not Robin or Batgirl. I’m happy to say that.”

batman-v-superman-image-41-600x250The filmmaker also revealed a few other cameos set for the R-rated cut while adding that this version actually includes even more connective tissue to future DC Cinematic Universe movies:

“There’s a couple, like, Ahman Green, the running back from the Green Bay Packers, he’s in it. And C.T. Fletcher is like this bodybuilder muscle-guru from Compton, this awesome guy. He’s amazing, and he’s in it. And then there’s just a lot of these Easter Eggs in the Director’s Cut that I think are gonna be fun for everyone.”

Snyder went on to say that there’s a “giant” tease for Justice League in the extended cut of the film, so it looks like folks itching to see more of the DCCU will be rewarded for picking up this different cut of the film on home video.

But what, exactly, makes this version of the film R? The MPAA chalks it up to “sequences of batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice-zack-snyderviolence,” and producer Charles Roven says he thinks it has more to do with intensity than the graphic nature of said scenes:

“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 inBatman 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.”

Warner Bros. was apparently considering releasing this cut long before Deadpool was a smashing success, but the Fox movie’s performance did indeed make them confident that moving forward with an R-rated cut on home video was the right call. As for whether other future Warner Bros. superhero films might be R-rated, speaking with EW, it doesn’t look like they have plans to alter their ratings,  even when it comes to the upcoming Suicide Squad:

“I think right now we’re going for the PG-13. I don’t know that that’s going to materially change. We can give that movie the edge that it needs and still maintain a PG-13.”

batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice-ben-affleckBen Affleck, for one, appreciates that the theatrical cut of Batman v Superman will maintain its PG-13 rating given that it’s something he wants to share with his kids, but is also pleased at the availability of an R-rated cut for adults:

“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, it’s the creative solution to a creative challenge.”

It’s curious that Snyder refers to this home video version as his “director’s cut”, and even more curious that the alternative version of the film includes even more connection to the overall DC Cinematic Universe. Snyder’s no stranger to director’s cuts as he made one for Watchmen, so I’ll be eager to see how these two versions of Batman v Superman differ once the home video release becomes available. For now, I’m just ready to see the movie period. Luckily the film’s March 25th release date is fast approaching.

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    • Andrew K

      Good news to hear WB was thinking about a R-rated home release before the success of Deadpool. And it sounds like the movie won’t be getting an R-rating for tons more violence but rather extended and/or more intense scenes, which I think is a good move for a Batman/Superman film. I am excited for both.

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