MoreHorror.com sources attending the San Diego Comic-Con have a report about the upcoming Adam Green release of Hatchet II .
Dark Sky Films are stating that they plan to have the film released in theaters entirely in its UNRATED format. Green told the audience at the convention that the MPAA has (yet again) asked that entire scenes be removed from the movie because they
are too violent!
It seems however that won't be a factor anymore since an unnamed theater chain has been confirmed to allow the entire version to run in theaters this coming October.
AMC Theaters will be showing the unrated cut of the film as part of its AMC Independent program. This means the uncut version of Hatchet II will be shown theatrically in the top 20 markets in the United States.
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the NC-17 rating, invented by the MPAA to separate certain graphic yet non-pornographic films
from the porn connotations of the X rating. But the new classification immediately had its own stigma and many theater chains and video stores wouldn't carry films with the NC-17 mark.
Now AMC Theatres, which has long been one of those against booking films lacking classification, is opening its screens (around 60 locations) to the horror sequel Hatchet II , which makes this the widest opening for an unrated film in 25
years. (probably referring to The Evil Dead which opened unrated in 128 theaters and took home more than $2 million)
It's assumed that following the October 1 release of Hatchet II, the also-unrated horror release I Spit on Your Grave will be booked in similar fashion. Then what? If the first title is successful -- and I think it has a good shot at being
the highest-grossing unrated film of all time -- can we expect filmmakers to actually start trying to garner an NC-17 just to then go out unrated? Will films that wouldn't even receive an NC-17 exploit the sudden approval by going unrated anyway?
I'm sick of PG-13 horror. Ugh! Another remake? Screw going to the theatre, I'll
just wait to see the unrated edition on DVD or Blu-ray.
How many of you have said such things? The sad part is we've gotten used to it. The MPAA has beaten back the genre countless times with their double standards and self given right to deem for us what is acceptable and what is
not. No one dared to challenge them, no matter how much we bitched, cried, and moaned. We were never afforded the chance to do anything about their rule over the horror genre, something they clearly do not even understand.
This weekend for the first time in over a quarter of a century a movie is coming out in a pretty damned wide release (all things considered) at AMC theatres across the country unrated and untampered with by the film group for
whom cool began and ended with the Fonz on Happy Days . Adam Green's Hatchet II isn't looking to reinvent the wheel. That was never the intention. Adam and company just made the film that they wanted to make. He was content with it
going straight to DVD unrated. Better that than seeing his flick get butchered again. But then Dark Sky and MPI Films got behind it full force. AMC loved the movie enough to grant it a wide theatrical release. This wasn't an act of defiance of the
MPAA on anyone's part who are directly connected to the film, but you know what? It can be for us. We can take the reins here. We have an opportunity to make our voices heard and possibly change the rules in the process.
If we as horror fans make it a point to make sure that Hatchet II is successful at the box office this weekend, we can take back some of the power that the MPAA has been unmercifully wielding for so many years and do
so in a way that Hollywood understands ... with cash! Theatre chains would always shy away from unrated horror releases because they didn't think it would be profitable for them to bother showing a film without the ratings board's blessing. We
have a unique chance right now to prove that's bullshit!
If this movie is successful this weekend, other theatre chains will be more receptive to the idea of giving indie filmmakers their shot to reach their audience. No one wants to miss out on something profitable. And for the
filmmakers the hassle of having to go on trial in front of the MPAA to get their movie rated so it can get out there just may not seem so necessary anymore, and we can FINALLY start getting what we crave the most: Our movies. Our way. Does it get
any more punk rock than that?
For a brief moment this past weekend, the impossible happened - the unrated Hatchet 2 opened in over 60 theaters and became
a cause for celebration among horror film fans, who viewed the release as a possible way to break the seemingly arbitrary MPAA chokehold that they see as part of the decline of the horror genre.
Hatchet 2 is one of the few times in the last twenty-five years that an unrated film has gotten any sort of theatrical release and the horror launched a Twitter and Facebook campaign to support it.
Leading horror website DreadCentral.com had even asked fans to buy tickets for Hatchet 2 online even if they aren't near a theater showing it as a way to send a message to Hollywood that there's a market for unrated horror.
That dream barely made it through the weekend; the theater chains that were carrying Hatchet 2 pulled it without explanation by Monday morning. It's tough to really know the specific box office numbers since several theaters - in Canada,
specifically -- wound up pulling the film right away due to fear of being fined for showing an unrated film, says Green. We're hearing that others decided to only show Hatchet 2 at specific times due to the hassle of having to have
someone guard the cinema door to check IDs. When I saw the film in Los Angeles there was a guard at the door for the entire movie checking ticket stubs and IDs where necessary. It was kind of crazy.
Adam Green and his marketers pinned their hopes for that miracle on AMC, and an ad campaign that specifically tied Hatchet II 's lack of a rating (I saw posters for the film at Fantastic Fest that even used the tagline Support Unrated
Horror ). If nothing else, Hatchet II 's $52,000 weekend gross proves that turning a gory, tongue-in-cheek slasher movie into a referendum on free speech isn't a shortcut to box office gold. Those uncut and unrated slogans are on
DVDs because people want to see extreme blood and guts, not because they're looking to strike a blow against organized censorship. They're horror fans, not freedom fighters.
The sad truth of the matter is that no one at [distributor] Dark Sky has been able to tell me the exact reasons behind why the film was pulled (they have not gotten a clear explanation whatsoever) and I only know what I am
hearing from the public on Twitter and AMC's response to the press of we base our decisions on performance which does not add up given that we know of at least two theaters that had pulled the film after just 24 hours and given the grand
scheme of things, other genre titles performed worse per screen, even though they had bigger budgets and traditional spends on marketing campaigns as opposed to ours.
All signs would point to AMC being unhappy with how vocal I was about the MPAA and not wanting to deal with the controversy — which if the case, is their given right. Had the film grossed millions, maybe it would be a
different story with them, but given the size of our release and the nature of what this is, all we ever could have hoped for was a few grand per screen in a realistic scenario.
When Hatchet II came out, they [the MPAA] were under fire because of the torture-porn that was getting through. But the reason that torture-porn was getting through was because it was being distributed by a studio that pays their salaries, so they
couldn't stop it. So there is all this backlash from parents, and I come along with a swamp monster with a gas-powered belt sander, killing comedians like Monty Python, and they came down on me!
But they fucked with the wrong guy because I beat them. I got my film into theatres unrated - which hasn't happened in 30 years - for 48 hours. Then I became the first movie to ever get pulled from theatres. There was all this bullshit that it
wasn't performing but in fact it did so great that, within 72 hours of the DVD release, a third one got greenlit. So the MPAA can eat a fucking dick. Hatchet III is coming, so I win, they lose.
The BBFC have passed Hatchet II 18 uncut with the BBFC comment: Contains strong bloody violence and gore.
This is the unrated version that caused so much hassle in the US when the distributors tried for an unrated release as opposed toe the usual R rated release. The exhibitors pulled out after just a few days.
See how simple that was? No police in theatres. No shutdowns. No silly controversy. Just pay for your ticket and see a movie about a swamp monster with a wireless belt sander. That's right, kids! The UK will be getting Hatchet II as
it was meant to be seen when it opens there in theatres this week. Free of all the MPAA stupidity and hoopla.
According to Adam Green, hatchet II has received an 18 Rating with NO cuts enforced. When it opens in cinemas on Friday in the UK - you'll be getting the uncut film!
We sure could take a page from our friends across the pond.