After this morning’s Oscar nominations, where “The King’s Speech” stacked up a dozen nods, it seems Harvey Weinstein still isn’t quite done maximizing the potential of the product he has out there in the theaters.
The LA Times reports that Weinstein wants to re-cut the movie and snip out the offending foul language to drop the film’s R-rating down to a PG-13. Citing the big numbers coming in for the film in its native Britain, where the lower 12-and-over rating has helped make the film a box office success, Weinstein says “The British numbers are huge because the rating lets families see the movie together. Tom and I are trying to find a unique way to do this that keeps his vision of the movie.” But how do you keep that vision when the offending scenes of foul language are also some of the liveliest and funniest in the picture?
Spoiler alert if you haven’t seen the film — but a central sequence, and one of the most entertaining, finds King George VI (Colin Firth) displaying his acumen for swearing with stuttering to his speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). It contains enough f-bombs to keep it on the healthy side of an R-rating and we can’t imagine how it would get to a PG-13 without snipping it out entirely or severely editing it. But the problem is, it’s a key scene in establishing the relationship between King George VI and Lionel and besides that, it’s just a great little segment. There’s no word yet from director Tom Hooper on his thoughts about all this, but he was already “appalled” that his film received an R-rating in the first place when more violent pictures get away with so much more, so we don’t see him being too keen on the idea.
If you still want to see “The King’s Speech” uncut, you have plenty of time. Weinstein doesn’t plan to roll out the family-friendly edit until after the Oscars when he hopes that multiple wins will serve as a box office boon for the film. And it also remains to be seen what effect a re-cut version will have on the final box office tally especially when it’s expanding to 2,500 screens this weekend and it’s already the second-highest-grossing specialty film this year. Why do it at all? So a few more people who didn’t care about the film all awards season will see it, safe in the knowledge they won’t hear an f-bomb? Seems like an odd strategy. But hey, Harvey’s been doing this longer than we have so what do we know. Check out the swearing scene below.