The King's Speech dominated last night's Oscars, but American audiences hoping to see the Best Picture winner in its entirety will need to hurry, now that the Weinstein Co. has secured MPAA approval to release an alternate, PG-13 version of the film.
The new cut, which Deadline is reporting mutes three of the film's five uses of the f-word, will completely replace the original version in the American market. The studio can begin swapping in new prints of the film immediately, after the MPAA's rating board agreed to waive a rule that would have have required the film to be pulled from theaters for 90 days before the new version could be released.
The film's creative team is divided about the decision. In January, director Tom Hooper said he "wouldn't support cutting the film in any way," a sentiment Firth echoed at last night's ceremonies. "I don't support [the new version]," the Best Actor winner told the Hollywood Reporter's Lindsay Powers. "I think the film has its integrity as it stands." Screenwriter David Seidler, meanwhile, told USA Today last night that he was "OK" with the cuts.
The ruling is undeniably a victory for Weinstein Co. co-chairman Harvey Weinstein, who has been fighting the film's R-rating for months. The film has already grossed $115 domestically and was projected to an enjoy an $8 million post-Oscar bump, according to a report from market research firm IBISWorld. That number seems likely to increase with the new cut.
And while the elder Weinstein--whose fondness for recutting films while running Miramax earned him the nickname "Harvey Scissorhands"--has never had any qualms about altering a director's vision, today it it's the arbitrary nature of the ratings process that is drawing the most criticism. "So: 2 fucks good, 5 fucks bad," observes Indie Wire's Kevin Jagernauth. At The AV Club, Sean O'Neal says the ruling is yet more proof the MPAA's ratings criteria is "stubbornly dogmatic and devoid of any consideration for context."