How do you solve a problem like 12 Oscar nominations? You cut your film to shreds it would seem.
Despite currently being fourth at the box-office with nearly $60 million in domestic revenue, and widely considered one of the two favorites to take home the Best Picture Oscar, The Weinstein Company is looking at ways to broaden the appeal of “The King’s Speech”.
Now, The Hollywood Reporter says Harvey Weinstein is discussing an idea with director Tom Hooper to re-edit the R-rated movie down to a PG-13 or even a PG.
The film earned the ‘R’ rating in the US for its occasional but important use of swearing, more specifically the use of the word ‘fuck’ at numerous points. Cutting around that would be extremely difficult and the swearing itself is a major component of the titular character’s speech therapy.
Yet Weinstein is seeing the more noticable awards bump that films like “True Grit” and “The Fighter” are getting at the box-office and understandably wants in on the action.
The move is part of a new marketing strategy intended to “up the film’s appeal” to a broader swath of moviegoers. The new rating would of course open the film up to the early-mid teenage demographic who are obviously chomping at the bit to see a serious, witty and dry British period drama about a royal ruler’s speech impediment.
Part of the reason for this sudden move is the UK box-office figures. The film has topped the British charts for three consecutive weekends with the help of a much milder 12-and-over rating. The BBFC (the UK’s MPAA) is more lenient on swearing and originally rated the film ’15’ before lowering it to ’12A’ on appeal. The swearing remains intact in the ’12A’ version in theaters.
If it goes ahead, this new censored version of “The King’s Speech” wouldn’t be completed until after the Oscars on February 27th. Before that happens, the Weinstein Co. is expanding the film to 2,500 theaters domestically this weekend, up from 1,680. Its ad campaign is also being adjusted to focus less on the critical acclaim and more on “trying to get across that this classic movie is just as cool as the other movies people are seeing” says Weinstein.