4 R-Rated Films We're Missing in Theaters Because a Studio Insists on PG-13
Look, we're not that kid who went around screaming about how movie studio executives are a bunch of shivering wusses afraid of blood and their own erections anymore. We understand that a lot is riding on films, especially big-budget releases, and the difference between an R-rating and a PG-13 may literally be the difference between success and failure at the box office.
Sometimes it even makes perfect sense. No one in their right mind would make an R-rated Superman movie, for instance, and even The Dark Knight somehow made it in at PG-13 (Our guess is the MPAA was threatened by the Joker, an act for which we are willing to forgive him a lot of other things for having done.) However, there are films that you have to wonder what the hell a studio was even thinking when they asked if they could be toned down a bit. Do you really think you could make a PG-13 version of...
Lobo happened when Roger Slifer and Keith Giffen at DC Comics looked at Marvel's Wolverine and the Punisher and said, "These guys aren't nearly violent enough. How can we fix that?" The result was the intergalactic bounty hunter, the main man, the ultimate bastich, Lobo. He's super strong, he rides a motorcycle, he has an implant in his head that constantly plays heavy metal music at all times, and he kills people. In no particular order, his murder list includes Santa Claus, every other member of his race as a science project, himself, all his bastard offspring, his fourth grade teacher and God.
Warner Bros bought the rights to make a Lobo film in 2009. Guy Ritchie was signed on as director, and at first it seemed like everything was on track for the ultimate in badass explosion fests. If you can't trust the director of Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels to turn in an R-rated action film, who can you trust?
Instead, Warner insisted on PG-13, possibly blaming the rating for Watchmen's disappointing box office showing rather than the fact that the changed ending basically made as much sense as a Yom Kippur ham sale. We don't know if that insistence is what drove Ritchie away from the project, but since he went on to film the Sherlock Holmes sequel instead of Lobo, we can assume that he's not particularly interested in turning out a watered-down version of the character.