Late last month, we told you about Harvey Weinstein’s plan to cut then-Best Picture nominee “The King’s Speech” in order to lower its rating from an R to a PG-13 and increase its moneymaking potential. That plan is now a reality, and the PG-13 cut of “The King’s Speech” will officially be coming to theaters in the near future. Make that the very near future, since the MPAA Ratings Board waived the usual 90-day waiting period for rereleasing films with new ratings. From the MPAA’s press release:
“The Classification and Rating Administration (CARA) has assigned a PG-13 rating to an alternate version of ‘The King’s Speech’ submitted by The Weinstein Company. The original version of the film is rated R ‘for some language.’ CARA has rated the alternate version PG-13 ‘for language.’ Bob Pisano, President and Interim CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) and John Fithian, President and CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners, have also waived, upon request from The Weinstein Company, a CARA rule requiring a distributor to fully withdraw the original version of the film from theaters for 90-days before replacing it with an alternate version.
This won’t be like walking into a video store and getting to choose between the theatrical cut and the “unrated director’s edition,” either: this waiver is contingent on the Weinsteins completely removing the original version of the film from distribution. In other words, folks getting on “The King’s Speech” Oscar bandwagon in the coming weeks won’t have a choice about what version they see. It’s PG-13 or bust.
One guy not pleased about that plan is “King’s Speech” star Colin Firth. Backstage at the Oscars after his win for Best Actor, Firth acknowledged that he was against censoring the film. As he put it to The Hollywood Reporter, “I don’t support it… I think the film has its integrity as it stands.”
It may have integrity as it stands, but it doesn’t have big enough box office grosses (of $114 million domestically and counting). And that’s what this is all about. Really, that’s what it’s always about when the Weinsteins takes on the MPAA. Sometimes they’re fighting for artists’ rights, like their support of “Blue Valentine” against its NC-17 rating. Sometimes they’re fighting against it, as in this case. It might look hypocritical, but it’s not. Regardless of the outcome the motivation is always the same: money.