Last Christmas Sony tested a cut of The Equalizer with a test audience. The cut was more or less untouched and presented at what they expect would be a ‘Hard R’ rating when the time to submit to the MPAA eventually rolled around. Usually with these things you’re handed a survey along with an NDA (non disclosure agreement) in regards your opinion of the movie. The test screening blew the roof off and was Sony’s highest rated ‘R’ testing in their history.
This week Antoine Fuqua, the director of the movie (and many other manly movies besides) has spoken about the rating with Collider.
I’m a product of older filmmakers I guess, the past where you get to make movies and scenes are what they are. You know if you think about Scorsese back in the day when he was making Taxi Driver, or Coppola or Frankenheimer, Sidney Lumet, they’re making films where you witness violence in a real way. And sometimes violence in a very real way is much faster and more impactful because it feels real and you’re watching it happen and you’re watching your star do these things, so it’s not like he’s doing superhero moves. The violence you witness is Denzel doing it and we’re taking some visual effects and doing some things and you see something happen it’s happening in front of you as opposed to cutting away and doing a bunch of tricks. It’s in front of you. So it’s hard not to make it a hard “R” if you see a guy get punched and teeth wind up in someone’s knuckles, you know what I mean? I don’t think you can get away with a PG. (laughter) Some other things I can tell you, you’ll never look at corkscrews again. (laughter) I’ll tell you that. It’s hardcore. There’s some stuff that even I go, “wow, okay”. (laughter) We’ll see what happens.
Our expectations for this movie are high, a strong contender for possibly manliest movie of the year alongside David Ayer’s killer looking WW2 tank feature Fury. The Equalizer is released September 26th.