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Black Adam was almost an R-rated movie, producers reveal

Dwayne Johnson's debut as the DC anti-hero had to go through multiple rounds with the MPAA in order to get a PG-13 rating
Black Adam
Warner Bros Pictures

As everyone knows by now, the upcoming Warner Bros. movie Black Adam is going to change the hierarchy of power in the DC Universe — but, as it turns out, there was almost the possibility that it would do so for a limited number of viewers, with the movie narrowly escaping an R-rating, according to producers.

In an interview with Collider, Black Adam producer Beau Flynn said that Black Adam went through “four rounds” of review with the Motion Picture Association before receiving a PG-13 rating, with the final decision just coming “maybe four or five weeks ago.” The problem was, the producer explained, the amount of violence originally in the movie.

“There are some personal moments that we really love, but we had to let them go,” he explained about the number of cuts necessary to achieve the desired rating. “We had some really cool moments, and if you notice, there are some great moments when Black Adam is in the fly bike chase sequence and drops one of the Intergang soldiers. Then there's this great moment where the truck bounces over the body. But those are moments that you need and remember in these movies, you know what I mean? You can't play it safe, and you have to go for it. And I think we have four or five of those. At one point we had about ten, and we were able to find some compromise with the MPAA on that.”

Hiram Garcia, another producer on the feature, added, “We always went into this knowing that we were going to push it as far as we did. We knew it was going to be a collaborative process with the MPAA to finally get it to where we were able, to get that rating, but we were able to pull it off. But it was really important for us to do that. And that's something Dwayne [Johnson] was very committed to as well.”

Ensuring that the movie had a PG-13 rating in theaters was, Flynn said, was “an obligation that we had to the fans” — not to mention something that the studio was almost certainly in favor of, as well (a smaller audience means a smaller box office). But that doesn’t mean that fans will never see the expanded, more violent take — Flynn added that “there are going to be some features for when we release on home video and streaming.”

Black Adam will hit theaters in a relatively family-friendly format October 21; feel free to imagine twice the violence if you feel it necessary.


If you still feel like you need to know more about Black Adam, we’ve got everything you could want to know about the movie right here.

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About the Author

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Graeme McMillan

Staff Writer

Popverse staff writer Graeme McMillan (he/him) has been writing about comics, culture, and comics culture on the internet for close to two decades at this point, which is terrifying to admit. His work has appeared in The Hollywood Reporter, Wired, Polygon, Inverse, Time Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times, and he also co-hosts the Wait What podcast three times a month and writes the Comics, FYI newsletter. He completely understands if you have problems understanding his accent.

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