There must be something in the water in Hollywood, as the box office blitz that is Deadpool has had studios shaking things up all current and future comic adaptations to the tune of that film's R-rating. The latest signal of this craze is Warner Bros. decision to release a special R-rated cut of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The only catch is that the harder cut of the film will be exclusively on Blu-ray.
With about a month to go until Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice's release date, ComingSoon landed the news that the official ratings information for Zack Snyder's new comic book adaptation indicates that the film is still on track for a PG-13 release into theaters, which will please parents and children alike. However, the exclusive R-rated cut for the Blu-ray is going to include some of the more violent scenes that were cut for theatrical exhibition. No other details were given at this time, specifically how much footage will be re-instated into the film's current run-time of 2 hours and 31 minutes.
The news that Zack Snyder would have both PG-13 and R-rated cuts of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice certainly isn't surprising. Being the director of such hardcore comic films as 300 and Watchmen, violence is almost an art form to Snyder's directorial hand. So if there's anything surprising about this announcement, it's the fact that the R-rated cut is being released exclusively to the film's Blu-ray release. If anything, you would think Warner Bros. would save that cut for a limited theatrical re-release, so as to top off the film's box-office gas tank. Then again, another, more pessimistic strategy might be at work.
Considering the rumors of Warner Bros' reaction to the film, and even some of the more negative fan reactions to the early looks at Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, an R-rated double dip might be Warner Bros.' insurance policy to draw audiences to the film in its home release window. In the worst case scenario, the R-rated version might encourage folks who waited until Blu-ray to see the film; putting it in front of audiences that may not have watched the movie otherwise. Though even if this clash of heroes becomes a box-office powerhouse, it'll more than likely convince folks to give it another look for the extra violence Zack Snyder is saving for the next round.
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice has pretty much played every card in its deck to show audiences that their film-going dollars will be going to good use. While this decision might sound like a throwback to the days of "Unrated, extended edition" DVD releases, there could be enough content that justifies the extra attention and viewings that fans may pay the film on Blu-ray. Though if this does turn out to be another disc based cash grab, you can bet the fans will be the first to let the world know.
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice will hit theaters in its original PG-13 form on March 25th, with its R-rated Blu-ray more than likely hitting shelves at some point this fall.