Well, sort of. Here are some hit movies that later cut out their most salacious bits to appeal to a wider audience.
Over the past 10 years, many major comedies have received an “unrated” release on home video—an extra-long cut of the movie with raunchier scenes restored that were initially removed to get a PG-13 or R rating. Oddly enough, the home video release of Johnny Depp’s R-rated movie Mortdecai is going the other way. It will be available in both its original R-rated version, as well as a PG-13 cut. (There isn’t a lot of sex or violence in the movie, but the softer version promises less “innuendo.”) The cut is an attempt by Lionsgate to get someone, nay anyone, to see the movie—the strange caper comedy was a flop with both audiences and critics.
Saturday Night Fever
This is not the first time a movie studio has softened a movie to bring it to a wider audience, although in the past it was done because certain movies had appeal to teenagers and children who couldn’t get in to see it because a few scenes gave them restrictive ratings. In 1978, after the R-rated Saturday Night Fever was a blockbuster hit with a soundtrack album to match, Paramount made a PG-version for under-18 fans of John Travolta and the Bee Gees (with the violence, brief nudity, and sexual themes removed).
The 1981 King Arthur fantasy Excalibur was a family-friendly standby on cable TV in the 1980s, but it was the PG-rated version that aired. The tamer version was released into theaters a few months after the R-rated version, but with sex scenes and the more graphic violent moments taken out.
The King’s Speech
The King’s Speech won the Best Picture Oscar in 2011. Its distributor, The Weinstein Company, had been miffed that the MPAA had given it an automatic R-rating because it uses the F-word more than once. Other than that, it’s a quiet, inoffensive historical movie about a British king trying to overcome a stuttering problem—it’s in a speech therapy scene that King George VI breaks through his anxiety by swearing repeatedly. After the Oscar win, TWC re-released the film with a PG-13 rating. The only major difference was a removal of the F-word scene.