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‘Batman vs. Superman’ Will Get the R-Rated Treatment on DVD and Blu-ray

Batman vs Superman pic
Warner Bros.

Thanks, Deadpool! As predicted by many (including Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn), it looks like studios are already taking the wrong lesson from the record-breaking, R-rated superhero film. While Fox has already given the green light to an R-rated Wolverine sequel, Warner Bros. is getting a jump start on their own edgier superhero offerings, as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will have an R-rated alternate version when the film hits DVD and Blu-ray.

The news comes from the official Film Ratings website (via Stitch Kingdom), which reveals that an edited, R-rated version of Batman v Superman will be released on DVD and Blu-ray:

Deadpool’s own studio, 20th Century Fox, is already proving that they’ve learned the wrong lesson from Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds’ ultra-violent, ultra-profane superhero flick by committing to an R-rated Wolverine sequel. It would appear that studios are indulging in the retro-thinking that a restricted rating is more attractive to audiences than a PG-13 rating, when it’s not about the rating — it’s about the content. It’s about taking risks with subversive stories and unlikely characters and defying convention. People like that Deadpool feels new, not that it feels restricted.

With Warner Bros.’ commitment to an edgier, darker superhero universe, this news shouldn’t really come as a surprise, but it is a little odd that they achieved an R rating for “sequences of violence” and nothing else — particularly when the MPAA tends to be more forgiving of violence than of sexual situations. Regardless of how or why the rating was delivered, it feels like a gimmick the same way an “unrated” version of a horror film feels like a gimmick.

Setting aside the MPAA’s arbitrary ratings system, does Batman v Superman really need an R rating? We’ve long assumed that David Ayer’s Suicide Squad would get that rating, particularly given the exceedingly violent nature of its villainous roster, and that makes sense. Suicide Squad is arguably more comparable to Deadpool anyhow, with a cast that boasts several characters previously untested on the big screen and its unconventional style and source material.

And that’s what makes Ayer’s film appealing to audiences in general — not the rating.

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