EDITORIALS

Lionsgate Cutting Punisher: War Zone All The Way Down To PG-13?!

by
August 15, 2008
Source: Latino Review

Punisher: War Zone

Just when we thought there couldn't be any more bad news in one week, we're hit by this stunning development. Back at Comic-Con, when the upcoming Punisher: War Zone was supposed to be getting some positive buzz, news hit that director Lexi Alexander had been cut off entirely from the film. We knew it was in bad shape when that happened, but we didn't know just how deep the roots went. Now George at Latino Review reports that an inside source close to Punisher says that the big battle that Lionsgate is having internally is whether or not to cut the film all the way down to PG-13. We saw a very similar fight happen with Fox and Live Free or Die Hard last summer. Eventually I got yelled at by our readers for complaining, but it really upset me at the time. And if anyone saw that insanely violent trailer that showed quite recently, then I'm guessing I'm not the only one upset about this idea.

While there isn't any official proof that this is the cause, George speculates that The Dark Knight is what sparked this latest battle. They're looking at that film, a stylized and dark PG-13 comic book movie that is on its way to $500 million, and assuming that they can cut Punisher down to that level, too, for a couple of extra bucks. Unfortunately, that won't work. George actually explains it best: "But this isn't Batman. This is The Punisher. The Punisher kills people. Violently." And I can nearly guarantee that less people would want to see a PG-13 Punisher movie than those who were looking forward to it based off of that violent trailer. This isn't anything that I need to explain my reasoning. Sure, I wanted John McClane to say "motherfucker," but if he didn't, no problem. But if Frank Castle doesn't violently kill excessive numbers of people, then it's not a Punisher movie!

We can argue all day about ratings and how PG-13 movies are just as good as R movies and so on, but that's not the point! What we're talking about with Punisher: War Zone is remaining faithful to the source material. Frank Castle doesn't mildly kill people in the comics. And as the director who initially had creative control, Lexi Alexander actually made a movie that was faithful to the comics (as far as we know) with extreme violence. This movie has been plagued by bad buzz since the very first day it was announced and I feel like it's doomed to flop, no matter what rating it has. I admire Lionsgate for at least trying initially to salvage a character that director Jonathan Hensleigh ruined in the first Punisher movie, but in the end, it's the execs at Lionsgate that screwing themselves over. Would anyone see a PG-13 Punisher?

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  • Stuart Mellor
    If this happens its terrible. The woman (i've forgotten her name) from Lionsgate was actually proud to show all that dirty violent carnage at the ComicCon panel. Ray Stevenson was saying how gritty and dirty it was, and they even said, at the Comic-Con panel, that the punisher is a violent character, who deserves, and has got a violent film. If they go back on what they said its going to be disasterous, because the stuff we saw at Comic-Con was brutal.
  • joker
    if they will cut it,it will be disaster. it will not be a punisher movie. i think everyone who is waiting for this movie, and everyone who saw that Comic Con video wants that all in the movie. if not than fuck Lionsgate and that bitch. than i waill wait for Unrated version or DVD or hell knows for what.
  • The Delightful Deviant
    final nail in the coffin, they may as well NOT release it and save some money and embarrassment.
  • Adam
    This sucks ass. I still hope it does well because Ray Stevenson owns. I guess we'll have to wait until he's playing Titus Pullo in the Rome movie before we see him again.
  • Matt
    To answer Alex's question, no, I don't think I would see it if cut to PG-13. I've already seen two PG-13 Punishers and Dolph and Jane didn't do much good at making them tolerable. I want to see the Punisher punish, mangle and ruthlessly take on some mean bastards. Not John Travolta, not being a pied piper for mob kids. I want death, blood and a hard R!
  • Taurinh24
    the punisher is not a PG-13 movie, he does not deliver punishment with Hugs and good wishes! he is a hardcore rated R kinda vigilante. I mean, when captain america and other super heroes wont let him join them in civil war because he is too "crazy" why in the heck would lions gate want to tame him?!!! please please please Keep it true to the source material. We need to start a petition to NOT ruin this movie.
  • If they cut it to PG-13, I'd refuse to see it out of sheer principle alone. Taking an R-rated source, creating an R-rated movie... then cutting it to be PG-13? I'm sorry, but that's just blatant censorship for the sake of bilking a few extra bucks off of underage viewers.
  • Matt Suhu
    haven't they learned from 300 that rated-R action films actually have a chance of doing well?
  • Juan
    I'm on board the PG-13 is a bad idea bandwagon. The 90's Punisher movie with Dolph Lundgren was a good cross section of the character. He killed anyone, everyone, indiscriminately and without remorse. High body count and low morality made it a faithful adaptation of the spirit of the Punisher, even if it wasn't the greatest movie. The 2000s Punisher was a kinder, gentler Punisher that personally made me gag. As an avid reader who still has his Punisher # 1 in a plastic sheathe, I've followed all the way through to the MAX comics ultraviolent Punisher incarnation. Tommy Jane made me sick, yeah, he killed a few people but he was a downright pacifist compared to what the Punisher is supposed to be. No regret, no remorse. Changing the extreme carnage trailer we saw into a movie with minimal violence would kill the box office on that, although I'm sure the fanboys like myself will be all over the unrated DVD edition when it comes out.
  • REAL6
    joker, Fuck that bitch. Its not the Directors Fault!!! Lionsgates fucking played her and fired her ass. YOU MEAN FUCK LIONSGATE!!! Look what they did to Midnight Meat Train. Thank lord i saw it in Rochester last week when i was up there. But i wished it was all over. Poor Poor Lionsgate. FUCKERS!!!
  • joker
    REAL6,i wasnt talking about director.i was talking about that other bitch which taken over this film or some shit like that.i liked Hooligans,and i had hope for this movie,but i swear to god if they gonna cut it,this movie will be bad. and yes Fuck Lionsgate. i want that Punisher,what we saw in that music video. i want to see that chair in the eye and all heads exploding. sorry for bad language im just angry. ive been waiting for that punisher movie,like this,where he is badass and he is killing everyone.
  • Joshua
    This movie is going to be absolutely terrible anyway...i mean a compete atrocity. This is just another reason NOT to go see it.
  • vic
    The trailer is really mind blowing, I mean total carnage and death- that's what the punisher is- LG will not be around for long if they make decisions like that.
  • Kyle A. Koyote
    I don't see them cutting it down, does anyone remember what happened with the Punisher video game not too long ago? It was extremely violent, but cut down so that it could be sold in stores easily, but that pissed off a LOT of fans. Besides, unless they plan on partial reshoots it would just be to hard, unless their just photoshopping blood out.
  • ImaginaryVisionary
    This movie is destined to suck either way. Cutting out the violence isn't going to get it better word of mouth. The best they can do is put out a bloody violent flick so that it at least gives people something to talk about. Shock value word of mouth is better than bad word of mouth in most cases. Lionsgate must be losing their balls because they used to put out the most pointlessly violent films in theaters. This isn't a movie that's going to appeal to many above the fanboys and fans of comic films, so they might as well push the envelope and keep that group happy before they finish turning their backs on this franchise.
  • Jesse
    If this is true then that just proves. Lionsgate only cares about their Saw movies and nothing else. I can understand why since everything else besides those movies either barely makes budget or bombs. So I can understand why they want to be a PG-13 cut. Cutting it down though is a horrible idea.
  • ArturoBinewski
    As many shots as people are taking at Lionsgate - and as deserved as those shots are - I doubt they're the only ones behind this if it's true and comes to pass. There's little doubt in my mind, especially after seeing the red band trailer, that Marvel probably has a hand in this somehow. I think the character has always spooked them to some extent, but the hard R - which is the lightest rating you're going to get if you're serious about making a true Punisher movie - might very well terrify them. I'd hope they'd at least allow a director's cut of the film on DVD if they trimmed it down for theaters.
  • Frank
    Taurinh24, there is a petition floating around, it's at http://www.PetitionOnline.com/pw08/petition.html :-)
  • spider-ed
    the voilence is wat makes it good, for fuck sake lol
  • Brad
    Agree with no. 12 here, movie looked like a steaming crock of you-know-what to begin with. Just another pointless, repulsive flick so people can get their kicks watching peoples heads explode.
  • Spider
    Are the suits at Lionsgate out of their freakin minds????????????? This is a case of stupid gone wild. Lionsgate is about to sabotage a potential hit and become the laughing stock of the entertainment industry. Although the flick itself didn't look too hot to begin with, they are about to trim the very violent scenes that were to grab attention to this flick.
  • daniel
    they might as well rename it to fit the new rating: PUNISHER: FLOWER GARDEN
  • Moviegimp
    Yea third turd in a row. First we had a violent movie but they wouldn't give Dolph the Punisher logo because it was to comic booky. Then we have the Jane one with the friends of Punisher. He is a loner straight up. Besides that tech guy he had in the early comics. Now it looks like they were going to get it right. Now this, wth, do it right or don't do it. This should be the easiest comic to adapt yet they can't get it right. A r rated action flick with a skull logo, how hard is that. I'll skip it.
  • Breach
    Wow, this movie is going to blow ass. They should just make it direct to DVD while they are at it
  • stevenmcpunisher
    Its a load of BULL. It will R Rated. http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/news/punisher-still-to-punish-in-r-ra ted-way.php
  • Nomad
    That story never rang true to me. I believe THIS guy: There is a rumor that has started circulating around this little thing called “the internet” that Lionsgate is pushing for the next installment of The Punisher to be rated PG-13. Given all we know of the franchise, this immediately smelled foul. Not being without charms and fully utilizing our ruggedly handsome looks, we tracked down our own source who is, of course, “close to the production.” Their word? *beep* We could add some words in front of that, like “complete,” “total,” or “utter,” but it throws off the feng-shui of the post, but they would be appropriate. It looks like this originated over at Latino Review, who indicate that they have their own source. Now, I love those Latino Review guys, but I have no idea who they’re talking to. I do, however, definitely know our source and know that I trust them completely. Punisher: War Zone will be Rated R for Rambo-Levels of violence. Which is a good thing, because the kill count of Rambo (another Lionsgate release) was 236 and featured some of the best gore violence in years. Now, while being Rated-R, the film is still facing a troubled production run, detailed by our Neil Miller at the end of last month. Who knows what else is going on in making the film “presentable,” though it probably has to do mostly with timing. While our source is more than enough for me, for you kids keeping count at home there are a few other things to keep in mind. First, former Marvel Entertainment CEO Avi Arad (and current Marvel producing partner) Avi Arad has always said that The Punisher was one character who would carry the R-Rating at Marvel (the other being Blade). Second, producer Gale Anne Hurd spoke at great length at Comic Con about the film and stressed the level of violence that would be in the film. Lastly, the exclusive footage shown at Comic Con, which was very well received, was definitely from a film that was Rated R, and it was the point they were selling - brutal. In summation, this PG-13 rumor is total *beep* Punisher: War Zone is still not a ship sailing smoothly, but it will come to theaters with that Rated R stamp all over it on December 5. And just in case you need more evidence of the R-Ratedness, have a look at the clip below, which was launched a few weeks back at Comic-Con. http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/news/punisher-still-to-punish-in-r-ra ted-way.php
  • Obmulap
    Let's hope that there's two different DVD's of this release.....one being the PG-13 bomb that's about to happen and the R rated from Ms. Alexander. My guess is the R would blow the doors off in sales. Of course being DVD there's always the unrated director's cut!
  • Chris H.
    wow.... I defended this project for awhile, stumbled a bit when Lexi was cut off from production, and now this. I cannot defend this project as a "wait and see" movie anymore. If this is true then the movie trully is sabotaged and should not even be released. From day 1 Avi Arad from Marvel promised a rated R bloodfest in the next punisher. He was quoted as saying the movie isn't punisher unless "there are intestines on the wall". This is not that vision. The Punisher is so easy to put on the big screen, as he embodies many other popular film heroes and anti-heroes already. Why, then, is it so hard to get a good Punisher movie actually made?
  • Richard
    wtf, great.
  • thejugfather
    hopefully the rumors ARE false and this comes out as bloody and violent as the trailer we already saw! it will suck balls if all that time and money were wasted so a few middle schoolers can get in without having to beg mommy and daddy to buy them tickets! screw the fanboys and release a movie for real fans of hardcore blod and guts movies! like the ones we used to have BEFORE hollywood lost it's imagineation and balls years ago!
  • Ray
    Just a rumor. No chance in hell they are going to cut it to PG-13.
  • Conrad
    At first, when I saw that now infamous red band trailer, I was like, okay, this looks like its going to be B-grade heavy duty action - good for a rental. Now this news comes up of dumbing down the movie even Further! to a PG-13 rating.... I won't be seeing this at all if Lexi A. doesn't get final cut on this project.
  • The movie will only be 5 minutes! Looking at the red-band again is it even POSSIBLE?!?! I think this is fake. Lionsgate is known for their Rs.
  • luke
    ur kidding right? wow. punisher pg-13? WTF!!!
  • Nomad
    Everybody take a deep, cleansing breath, blow it out and relax. The news de-bunking th PG-13 rumour is all over the net now. 109 days until punishment begins!!!
  • jared barton
    The only way I'll see this movie is if they do reduce it to a PG-13. In my opinion, the first one was gratuitously violent.

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