Having said that he would cut Prometheus to make it widely releasable, Ridley Scott has now made it clear that, in fact, he did.
In the UK, the film has been given a 15 rating, as opposed to an adults-only 18. There’s no direct equivalent to these in the US, and both 15 and 18 certificate films have achieved the R rating in the US.
But it doesn’t seem likely that Scott was cutting with the UK box office in mind. I imagine he was trying to avoid an NC-17 in the States.
Or, perhaps, a series of prohibitive “adult” classifications around the international marketplace.
Either way, Scott himself says that editing decisions were made on the basis of the film’s rating and not just pure storytelling.
From the BBC story:
The film is violent and tense but Sir Ridley – who has been an outspoken critic of the current rules of film ratings – insists he cut as much he could to open the film to a wider audience.
“It has to be be about the movie, so I’ve made concessions. There’s a moment where you don’t want to harm the movie.
But he acknowledges it’s a case of simple economics and getting an 18 certificate “could be the difference of $80m or more”.
I respect Ridley Scott’s decision to treat his own film the way he sees fit. I also respect his candour in admitting this financial motivation.
I do wish, however, that dollars didn’t steer the creation of what is, in theory at least, a work of art.
Prometheus is open across the UK now, with the US release set for this Friday, June 8th.