Why Netflix’s Red Notice Didn’t Go The R-Rated Route With Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne Johnson, And Gal Gadot

Ryan Reynolds and Dwayne Johnson in Red Notice
(Image credit: Netflix)

In the making of the new heist thriller Red Notice, writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber really had two potential avenues to go in the content department: either keep things tame in regards to violence and profanity, or let the blood and expletives fly. The A-lister stars of the film certainly have their own experiences in both arenas – as Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne Johnson, and Gal Gadot have all made a mix of PG-13 and R-rated movies during their career – so it really came down to the sensibilities of the filmmaker. At the end of the day, Thurber ultimately opted to go the more family friendly route, and the reason is because he always conceived of the movie as being an adventure suited for absolutely everybody.

I had the pleasure of recently interviewing Rawson Marshall Thurber during the Red Notice’s virtual press day, and at the start of our conversation I asked about the call that was made with the film’s rating. As he explained it, there was never really a vision of the film that was laced with profanity and extreme violence, as he wanted to make a movie that could be enjoyed by audiences of all age groups and demographics. He explained,

Well, I had always wanted to make a PG 13 version of Red Notice. To me, the R-rated version made no sense; nor did the G-rated version, frankly. But I guess to me, Red Notice is designed in its intent is to entertain as many people as possible: left right of the political spectrum, men, women, eight to 80. And I think PG-13 has the biggest tent and the biggest door for folks.

In the theatrical realm, a film’s rating in development can often directly correlate with its perceived box office potential – with the big factor kept in mind that movie-goers under the age of 18 can’t buy a ticket for an R-rated release. When it comes to movies debuting on streaming, however, it’s a different ballgame. While Netflix has parental controls that can be used by subscribers to prevent young children from watching inappropriate material, their original content at large isn’t dictated by the same rules that play in cinema distribution.

By making Red Notice with an R-rating, Rawson Marshall Thurber may not have specifically hampered its ability to reach an extremely wide audience, but he had a vision for the film that saw it as a fun movie to be enjoyed by younger people in addition to adults, and thus didn’t want to fill it with mature content that would potentially forbid entry for some.

And on the subject of wide availability, Red Notice is now available to stream on Netflix – starring Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot in addition to Ritu Arya and Chris Diamantopoulos. To learn about all of the other movies set to hit the streaming service and beyond in what remains of this year, head on over to our 2021 Movie Release Schedule.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.