STX Entertainment Cuts 'The Bye Bye Man' In Order to Scare Kids With A PG-13 Rating
I know that you have seen the trailers for a film called The Bye Bye Man. The film was supposed to be released this past August, but STX Entertainment, the company that gave us The Boy and The Gift, pushed the film back until January 2017. There was no reason given, but fans could speculate. Some said that they pulled the film to work on it more. Others said that the film needed to latter release date in order for STX to give the film a proper ad campaign. And then there the people who said that the film was a turd and releasing it January was the way to go. In a sense, STX wanted to dump the film in January where no one would notice.
Well, we finally got word about why the film was moved back. When the film was supposed to be released in August, it called an 'R' rating. The reason for this rating was: bloody horror violence, language and some sexuality. Watching the trailer, one can get the sense that the film would be rated R.
Now the film carries a PG-13 rating. The reasoning for this rating is: terror, horror violence, bloody images, sexual content, thematic elements, partial nudity, some language and teen drinking. You will note that there is more in the reasoning for the rating. My question is: Is the terror, thematic elements, partial nudity, and teen drinking NOT in the 'R' rated version? Why does the MPAA give more descriptors to a PG-13 film than they do to an 'R' rated film?
I hate when films that were shot for an 'R' rating are cut down to a 'PG-13' rating so that more teens can see the film. This is the case with The Bye Bye Man. Why cut the film down if you are just dumping the film in January anyway? The rating should have been kept. I think that the film would have done better at the box office because of the 'R' rating. I think that people are going to turn away, like they did with Ouija: Origin of Evil and The Darkness.
The reason that The Conjuring 2, Don't Breathe, and The Witch did so well is because the studios releasing them, New Line Cinema (The Comjuring), Sony (Don't Breathe, and A24 (The Witch) had faith in the films they were releasing. Each one of those studios could have demanded cuts in order to secure a PG-13 rating. They didn't and audiences found the films and thanked the studios for releasing the 'R' rated films by making each of the films a hit.
Unlike a lot of horror fans, I don't have a problem with PG-13 horror...when it is shot that way. Films like the Insidious films, The Sixth Sense, What Lies Beneath, and a lot of the films a lot of the films on this list were shot with a PG-13 rating in mind. Sure, the films try to push the PG-13 rating as far as they can, but they are not cut in order for a studio to make more money.
The sadness of the cutting of The Bye Bye Man seems weird to me because this is the same year that saw the release of Deadpool, a film that earned its 'R' rating ever for every second in the film. That film would go on to gross over $740 million at the box office world wide. After that happened, every studio was talking about how they could make films that were already completed more graphic, so that they could get in on that 'R' rated money. Even Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice proudly wore an 'R' rating on its extended cut when it was released on dvd, blu-ray, and VOD in July.
Cutting a film down from an 'R' rating may make you more money, but it hurts the film in the long run. Let's say that the film is a hit. So much so that the studio decides to make a sequel. In the meantime, that same studio has released the film on dvd and blu-ray and includes the original 'R' rated version on top of the neutered PG-13 version. When that sequel comes out, the studio will no doubt go for another PG-13 rating because the film was a hit because of the rating. But now people don't want to see the new film in theaters because the version that they remember best is the 'R' rated version that the studio released on dvd and blu-ray. Now the sequel is a flop and the studio decides that they are not going to release any more horror films because people don't want to see them.
You see how lowering a film's rating could hurt the film and the industry? STX has made a grave mistake and I know that they will release the original 'R' rated version on dvd and blu-ray in the Spring of 2017. They will see that they should have released the film as is, but they chose to chase the PG-13 dragon instead of nurturing the 'R' rated monster that now lives on the cutting room floor.
Jimmy P is an avid film lover and collector. He has been collecting since the mid-90's and has amassed a collection in the thousands. He collects VHS, Laserdisc, DVD, and Blu-ray. Jimmy P lives with his wife in Parts Unknown.