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The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies Extended Edition Will Be Rated-R

Naughty Hobbits.

Every film within Peter Jackson's Tolkien universe has received a PG-13 rating, freeing up family audiences to indulge in the fantastical adventures. True, some moments have pushed the boundaries of what's accepted at that level, but generally it's all been pretty safe. That's set to change though, with news that the forthcoming The Battles of the Five Armies extended edition will receive an R-rating for "some violence". PG-13 is the American equivalent of a 12a, whereas R would be the rating doled out to a 15 or even some softer 18 rated films. R prohibits anybody under 17 from seeing the film without a guardian, so it's a considerable leap-up from the franchise's usual censorship perch.
Thinking back to The Battle of the Five Armies, the theatrical cut's already pretty violent, but in a bloodless and strangely weightless fashion. Unlike the original trilogy, the lack of physical extras in the battle sequences robs them of impact, harking rather unfavourably back to George Lucas' Star Wars prequels. Whether this R-rated cut has simply inserted a little more splatter, or has actually reinstated some heavier action beats is unknown, but both are possible, especially as it includes 20 minutes of fresh footage. What's surprising is that Warner Bros, who previously released the last two Hobbit extended editions as Christmas gift sets, might just have locked out one of their bigger consumer demographics on the trilogy closer. You can find out the specifics when the extended edition releases 16th November in the UK and a day later in the US on 17th.
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Writer, cinephile and owner of Vampire's Kiss on DVD. Take from that what you will.