While we have yet to declare that Johnny Depp‘s career is in danger — with roles in “Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” and “Alice In Wonderland 2” he’ll still be swinging a big blockbuster stick yet — it would seem audiences at least are wary of the actor when he’s not Jack Sparrow. Indeed, no one could be bothered to show up for the actor’s R-rated caper comedy “Mortdecai” when it opened and subsequently bombed in wide release in January. A movie once dreamed of as a potential franchise, Lionsgate quickly saw those hopes dashed when it barely mustered $7.5 million at the domestic box office (coughing up $30 million total worldwide), so they are hoping to recoup that $60 million budget any way they can. Even if it means cutting the film.
Forbes reveals that “Mortdecai” is curiously being offered in a couple of different flavors: the R-rated version you know and don’t love on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD, and in a PG-13 version on Digital HD. No word on why that particular avenue has been given the cut version, but according to the studio’s advertising, this version is “uproarious.” Right. While it’s not unprecedented, it’s fairly rare and a bit unusual for a movie to be given a safer rating on home video.
But more importantly, it probably won’t drastically change the fortunes of the movie either way. Lionsgate is likely just looking to cut their losses wherever they can and if that means they get a few more VOD orders with a more family-friendly rating, so be it.