Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Prometheus receives an 'R' rating. Duh!

It has been reported today via Collider.com/Indiewire.com that 20th Century Fox will go with the MPAA rating of an R. As many of you who have been following Fassinating Fassbender for a while, we are going into ratings analysis territory once again with another Michael Fassbender helmed film. As with 'Shame' the MPAA rating of NC-17 screwed up the film in two fundamental ways: box office returns, and AMPAS.

With Prometheus, this film has a franchise history going back to 1979, and all the previous films can be seen on DVD literally by anyone, regardless of their age. A per this wiki page on the Alien (franchise), it lists the four predecessors (Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, Alien Resurrection). And a quick IMDB review of all four films show that they received R ratings too. So it should come as no surprise that Prometheus would have the same fate. However, due to the delicate financial investment in Prometheus, since it's been at least 15 years since the last true Alien-esque film has been made (not including PG-13 popcorn monster showdown fare 'Alien vs Predator'), Fox wants to recoup as much money as possible from Prometheus, and the more audience friendly the rating is (ie. PG-13), the more money it can earn. But an R-rating limits who can see Prometheus, and that's not neccessarily a bad thing. I don't think that kids should see any of these films until they are of age, and due to the complex nature of space travel, and horrible space creatures, excruciatingly painful deaths of humans, etc... this is not family fare! And all of this is before partial nudity, blood and gore spillage, and understandable harsh/foul language and added to the sci-fi mixature.

Michael Fassbender as android David.
Several articles make reference that Prometheus will be the first R-rated summer-released Sci-fi film since 2003's Matrix Revelations and since then, Sci-fi has been watered down and deliberately designed to earn a PG-13 rating for a box office bonaza. I don't think that's bad, there's been some awesome sci-fi films of the past decade that are PG-13. But to me, sometimes the very nature of some Sci-fi films demand it to be hardcore and REAL, and not bashful in showing the blood and guts and the surprising horrors that science fiction can produce. And in being 'real', when people are scared and fighting for their life, they will cuss and swear, they will kill or being killed, and blood or other bodily fluids/body parts will be seen. I know I was one of the first people posting at Awards Daily last fall talking about how I hoped that Prometheus would get an R rating only because that rating would mean that more scary scenes would be shown, and extremely distressing events would occur on screen that 9 year-olds should not watch. 
The article at Indiewire poses several interesting questions and I try to answer here instead of posting my comment over there.:

Can the movie bring in the business it needs to make this endeavor profitable? The traditional print/tv and social media marketing of Prometheus has been outstanding. It has provoked a lot of interest and it reminds people of what they haven't seen for a long time. Films that are R-rated should not be looked down upon, this type of film is for adults, and they are the ones who a more knowledgeable about the Alien franchise. They will go see this film and pay to see it in one of four ways: the regular 2D, 3D, IMAX, IMAX 3D. The latter two versions will really help the box office of Prometheus!

Can Fox break the movie out of the geek box and make it appealing to mainstream audiences? This film's legacy, established by the previous four films, has already made it mainstream. Mainstream audiences should not be thought of in terms of people under 15, those are children! Adult audiences of 17 and over will want to see Prometheus because it will be the hottest Sci-fi film of the summer and provide an alternative type of film going experience when comedies, rom-coms, superheroes, and spy films are the standard.

They've got one month left to go on the marketing campaign to make it happen. We suggest a campaign for Taco Bell led by Michael Fassbender's David. - While I agree with more use of Michael as David8, the internet viral ads were brilliant, perhaps something cool with Verizon and smartphone apps would be more appropriate than a fast food advert.

So with that, are you pleased with the R-rating for Prometheus? Read more fan comments at Awards Daily.


émilie said...

In France, Prometheus can be seen by all audiences, as Shame was! It's strange, such differences between Europe and the USA! I don't know exactly what to think about the R rating, I have to reflect on it :)

Veronica said...

I was definitely not surprised to see the R rating, in fact, I would have been surprised if it had been anything less than an R rating. It’s interesting though, I went to see The Avengers yesterday and one of the previews (in 3D!) was Prometheus. Interesting marketing there when you consider how young the audience of Avengers could possibly be. I’m wondering if that will change now that Prometheus has snagged the R rating. I doubt Disney will want to be a part of that. Anyone else have thoughts on that?

Simone said...

Emilie, I wish that we here in the USA were as 'free' and openminded as you guys in France.

Veronica, kids can see Prometheus, just as long as their parents are with them. Therefore, the preview of Prometheus prior to the screening of The Avengers was a good move. It's my hope that parents who went to the Avengers with their teenagers, go to Prometheus with them too.

Disney shouldn't have a problem with Prometheus... after their John Carter fiasco, they should just focus on how much Avengers is kicking butt.

Jud said...

Yes in France we have less problems with that. In Paris Shame was forbidden to kids under 12, and nothing about Prometheus yet but I'm pretty sure they won't make a big deal out of it. In France, for instance, they won't "beep" you if you curse or swear on TV. Yet I feel like, here, it may be harder for them to touch the mainstream audience. Sci-fi is not very popular and the promotional campaign being mostly in English it is not as famous. I made an investigation for my PhD recently (as I work on sci-fi) and here it is still very hard for the genre to enter the mainstream category... But I'm pretty sure it won't be the case in the US and I agree with your answers Simone.

Dionne said...

This is a surprise to no one. lol
I'm thinking it may break a record for an R rated summer film in the U.S. I do wonder how this will effect sales, but I don't think it'll effect the sales too much with the IMAX and 3d.

Noëlle said...

Just heard that it was Cameron Diaz who had been cast as Malkina for the Councilor
saw it there: http://www.commeaucinema.com/tournage/cameron-diaz-face-a-michael-fassbender-chez-ridley-scott,251136
but it's in french

here are some english sources :


Simone said...

Thanks for the heads up Noelle!