In the wake of Deadpool's surprising $700 million R-rated turnover, superhero studio executives have been seriously reconsidering their marketing plans. In some cases, they have decided to remain family friendly -- in the case of Marvel and their successful MCU, for example -- and in other cases, some serious deliberation is currently in place. R-rated, it seems, has a new lease of life in the superhero genre, and as some studios ponder the future, what lies in store for more imminent releases, like 2016's heavy roster of superhero movies?
One of the first films to be attached to a potential R-rated cut is Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and it didn't take long for director Zack Snyder to confirm that the film would arrive on DVD and Blu-Ray in such a form. Details of the Ultimate Edition -- the current moniker for the release -- have been scarce despite cinematic details of the movie being revealed, but this week, the director confirmed that the R-rated home video version of Batman v Superman will indeed clock in at three hours.
When the cinematic runtime was confirmed at the 150-minute mark and that the film had 30 minutes trimmed from the final cut, people cried about the extra half an hour. There's no doubt that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a sure-fire blockbuster and one of 2016's most exciting and anticipated superhero movies, so it seems the viewers want as much bang for their buck as humanly, or superhumanly, possible. It's a big movie for DC and Warner Bros., and it seems they have major plans to help the movie bring in the money far beyond the cinematic release.
Snyder's confirmation of an R-rated version has fans contesting that he only did it in response to Deadpool's massive box-office, which was nipped in the bud during an interview. Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, Zack Snyder put the fans' minds at ease and explained that despite Deadpool being a success, they always had an R-rated version in mind.
"The why of that is [the DVD version] is a half-hour longer, and some of that additional material is some of the stuff we took out for the rating. I was like, "Cool, I can put it back in for the director's cut." There was nothing by design. This was the material I just put back in, and then when [the MPAA] looked at it again, they were like, "Oh, now the movie's rated R." And, by the way, it's not a hard R. There's no nudity. There's a little bit of violence. It just tips the scale."
When a film loses 30 minutes from the runtime, it's usually due to pacing issues, but Batman v Superman has some very interesting additions to feature in the home video version. One of them is Jena Malone's turn as Barbara Gordon, which is expected not to feature in the cinematic version. The reveal was confirmed by Total Film. Other turns that could be affected by the cuts are Thomas and Martha Wayne, played by The Walking Dead alumni Lauren Cohan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the appearance of Senator Patrick Leahy, and a number of yet-to-be-specified cameo roles. Until the film is released, nothing is certain, but with such a packed roster of characters, expect one or two to fall by the wayside.
Let's not forget that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will also feature a number of Easter eggs to set-up the future of the DC Cinematic Universe, as teased by Snyder himself, so fans will have plenty to keep themselves occupied. When the three-hour version finally becomes available, expect the fans to be rushing out in abundance to buy a copy.
It's a clever plan for DC. Their branding has always catered to the adult audience, and to see them making an intention to target that market could be a feather in their cap. With DC looking to unleash their best characters on Marvel's pretty dominant Hollywood form, in an attempt to establish superhero brand dominance and finally usher in The Justice League, expect them to go hard or go home.
Directed by Zack Snyder and starring Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Diane Lane, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, and Jeremy Irons, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will arrive in UK and U.S cinemas on March 25, 2016.
[Image via Warner Bros. Pictures]